Galway Plate Tips: Take on The Shunter with this value play in the feature

Who will win the 2021 Galway Plate?
Who will win the 2021 Galway Plate?

A stellar field lines up for The Galway Plate on day three of the Galway Festival, and we pick out our best bet for the showpiece race of the meeting...

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Samcro heads the weights for the Galway Plate, as the Denise Foster-trained raider looks to recapture his best form, but he will face a whole plethora of classy rivals in an enthralling renewal of the feature race of the entire week. With the burden of 11st 10lbs, Samcro will need to be at his absolute best to play a role here, and having disappointed in the Ryanair Chase in March he bounced back to form with a Grade 3 win at Killarney. However, a poor effort at Listowel last time out has left the jury out once again, and he is worth taking on.

Heading the betting, at the time of writing is The Shunter, who himself has a Cheltenham Festival victory to his name as he was a fine winner of the Paddy Power Plate in March. Second in the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree after Cheltenham, the Emmet Mullins-trained star was last seen finishing third in a competitive handicap hurdle at Punchestown in May. He lines up off a 12lb higher mark than his Cheltenham win, so he will need to show vast improvement over the larger obstacles, but he still looks to be open to some improvement over the larger obstacles, and he's entitled to be the market leader.

Willie Mullins has a seven strong team taking their chance in the Galway Plate, as he looks to win it for the second time in his career, and stable jockey Paul Townend has opted to ride Royal Rendezvous, who was a fine second in this race 12 months ago and warmed up for this test with a win over hurdles at Ballinrobe. He is 7lbs higher in this year's running, so he has some work to do, so it could be worth looking elsewhere in the Mullins team. 

Brahma Bull won the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at Punchestown in April, but he has been given a 6lb rise, so he could well be in the handicapper's grip now, while impressive Topham Chase hero Livelovelaugh found it tough to follow up that Aintree win, and could be another that finds it too taxing. The eye-catching Mullins runner is Koshari, who hasn't run over fences since 2018, but was a winner last time out over hurdles, and could be a lively player here. 16th in the 2018 Galway Plate, Koshari is 7lb lower in this year's running and having won impressively in a competitive Punchestown handicap hurdle then he could be one that is attractively handicapped, if taking to the fences again.

Battleoverdoyen is a course and distance winner, but has been struggling to put his best foot forward for Denise Foster of late, and looks to be high in the weights, while Darasso will look to record back-to-back wins over fences for Joseph O'Brien, but it's another from the O'Brien yard that catches the eye.

Three falls in six chase outings isn't going to give you a load of confidence about a horse's chance in one of the most fiercely competitive handicap chases on the calendar, but ASSEMBLE has shaped like he could be a really smart performer, if only he can iron out his jumping issues. Last seen running in a competitive event at Killarney, Assemble was destined to run a mighty race and bag a place at least in the 2m 1f contest, but a fall in the closing stages saw him crashing to the turf.

Lining up off the same mark of 147 on Wednesday afternoon, Assemble is entitled to be a big price for this contest, but he showed when finishing a fine fifth in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival that he can run with credit in a competitive handicap chase, and now a slight step up in trip as well could bring out his best. He's significantly better weighted with The Shunter following their Cheltenham clash, and while he was well beaten that day at Prestbury Park, Assemble still appears to be open to some improvement over the larger obstacles, and at 20/1 he looks a superb each-way bet.

18:15 Galway Festival - Galway Plate
Assemble silk

Assemble (EW)

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