Gordon Elliott has singled out Mengli Khan as his number one contender after leaving 12 horses in at the confirmation stage for thetote.com Galway Plate at Ballybrit on Wednesday.
The County Meath handler has won the valuable handicap chase twice in the last three years with Lord Scoundrel in 2016 and Clarcam last year and believes he has another decent hand.
“I suppose we’ll have four or five runners all being well,” said Elliott.
“Mengli Khan would probably look the main one and we have A Toi Phil, Borice, Barra who was unlucky when she fell in the Midlands National, and Ravenhill, who won the qualifier in Limerick.
“We’ve got a good hand in it and we’re looking forward to it.”
Black Corton heads the weights after 36 horses stood their ground.
His trainer Paul Nicholls also has Modus in contention while potential other UK raiders are Anthony Honeyball’s Regal Encore, the Peter Bowen-trained duo of Henryville and More Buck’s and Dan Skelton’s Azzuri, who is also in the Galway Hurdle next Thursday.
Yorkhill is among five for the Willie Mullins team while Eddie Harty’s Coney Island and the Peter Fahey-trained Peregrine Run are among other big names for the home side.
Elliott expects to have three runners as he looks to win the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle for the first time on Thursday.
“I’ll probably have three in the Hurdle if they all get in, and Chosen Mate is probably the pick of them.” he said.
“Tombstone has plenty of experience and could run well on the best of his form.
“If Star Maker gets in off the bottom, on his Killarney run, he could run well, but he might be lucky to get in.”
Quick Grabim, one of eight possibles from the Mullins stable, heads the handicap on 11st 10lb after 31 remained following the forfeit stage.
Sophie Leech is looking forward to sending Garo De Juilley over to the west of Ireland in search of a slice of the prize money.
“I’m really excited for him. Obviously he won the Silver Trophy last autumn,” the Westbury-on-Severn trainer told Sky Sports Racing.
“He’ll probably go chasing after that.
“He’s been great for us and is probably our best horse at the moment.
“It’s a massive pot.”