Top Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has won the last two runnings of the Galway Plate and launches a five-pronged attack in this year’s running of the valuable extended 2m 6f Grade A handicap chase on day three of the Galway Festival (19:20).
Borice looks potentially well-treated now switched back to the larger obstacles and the pick of the quintet.
This Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned eight-year-old was a three-time winner in France and has had just for starts for his current handler.
He trailed in a distant 18th of 27 to Auvergnant in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown, then failed to live up to expectations when sent off 10/1 and finishing a well-beaten ninth of 18 to Invitation only in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January.
However, Borice has since been given two confidence boosting successes in novice hurdles at Uttoxeter and Perth – scoring in facile fashion by 34 lengths and 33 lengths.
He‘s now rated 142 over hurdles, but is able to race off a 6lb lower chase mark of 136.
It makes Borice, who will be partnered by Luke Dempsey for the first time, a fascinating contender off a feather weight just 10st 2lb.
He appears to have been laid out for this by his shrewd handler and has underfoot conditions to suit as well, so at 7/1 with Bethard had to be the main selection in this Galway Plate preview.
Barra an each-way player
Barra is another Elliott inmate that looks weighted to go well on the pick of her form, so appeals each-way at 14/1 with Paddy Power who pay five places.
This eight-year-old-year-old mare carries the famous maroon and white colours of Gigginstown House Stud who have been responsible for four of the last five Galway Plate winners.
She was a smart hurdler, finishing placed in Grade 2 and Grade 1 company and running a cracker at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival when third of 26 to Bleu Berry in the Coral Cup of a mark of 137 – after which she got put up to 140.
Barra went on to win her chasing debut at Kilbeggan 12 months ago in good style when comfortably beating Oathkeeper by eight lengths.
Injury then resulted in her spending 277 days on the sidelines, before she made a promising return to action in a Grade 3 novice chase at Fairyhouse in April when a 10 1/2 lengths third of six to Camelia De Cotte.
The daughter of Vendangeur also had the race at her mercy last time out at Kilbeggan where five lengths clear and cruising only to come to grief at the last.
Barra has been raised 4lb for that unfortunate mishap, but should be very competitive off a revised rating of 137 on the pick of her form in the hands of last year’s winning rider Mark Enright.
Modus weighted to go well in Galway Plate
Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls, who landed a gamble in the race with Oslot in 2008, saddles top weight Black Corton and Modus.
Preference is for the latter – one of five runners for leading Irish owner JP McManus, who saw his green and gold hooped colours carried to victory for a sixth time in 2013 by Carlingford Lough.
Modus is a nine-year-old that has won four of his 11 starts over fences. He is a clever, rather than fluent jumper who is prone to making errors, but gets away with them on most occasions.
That proved to be the case on seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham when he beat Duke Of Navan by a head in a seven-runner affair off a mark of 146.
Modus also ran well two starts later at Doncaster when finishing third to Cracking Find off 150.
He is now able to race off 144 and that looks very exploitable, given that he as he was rated as high as 156 when winning the Grade 2 Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton in 2017.
It makes Modus potentially thrown-in at the weights, and he needs a string gallop to be seen to best effect – something he is sure to get in this.
At 16/1 with Betfair, he looks another worth considering back each-way in a typically fierce Galway Plate renewal.
Heron Heights another with a shout
Henry de Bromhead, who has won the race twice since 2015, saddles three and Heron Heights is the shortest in the trio in the betting at 12/1 with William Hill – another bookie paying five places.
This 10-year-old has won six of his 15 starts over fences and was very impressive in the last of those at the Punchestown Festival back in May when landing a 10-runner contest by 6 3/4 lengths off a mark of 141.
He now races off a career-high mark of 147, but has a good record fresh and underfoot conditions to suit.
Heron Heights is also 1-1 under Robbie Power and has clearly been laid out for this by his in-form handler, who is operating at a strike rate of just over 26 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing.
Everything pints to a bold bid, so Heron Heights is another with each-way claims in a cracking renewal of the Galway Plate.