The Paul Nicholls trained Black Corton with Bryony Frost onboard will be top weights for the Galway Plate on Wednesday afternoon.
22 will line up for the Festival showpiece at 7.20 on Wednesday afternoon. Black Corton is one of four British trained declarations. He's alongside stablemate Modus, the Dan Skelton trained Azzurri and Regal Encore from the Anthony Honeyball yard. Nicholls was the last British trained winner of the Galway Plate with Oslot in 2008.
Willie Mullins is looking for his second Plate win after Blazing Tempo obliged in 2011. The master of Closutton saddles three runners and the first reserve Pylonthepressure. His nephews David and Danny ride Some Neck and Pravalaguna respectively. Stable jockey Paul Townend is booked to ride Yorkhill. The enigmatic son of Presenting is an intriguing runner. He has looked distinctly uncomfortable on right-handed tracks in the past. Most notably when throwing away a gilt-edged chance of Grade One glory at Fairyhouse in April 2017, when veering left in the closing stages.
Yorkhill has run only eight times since, and not won. He has consequently dropped 10 pounds in the ratings. Given what has happened in the past with late non-runners and reserves running, should Yorkhill not take part Townend will ride Pylonthepressure. If that happens it's not a good look, with the regulations brought in by IHRB seeking to avoid situations like Carlingford Lough in 2013 and Patrick's Park backed off the boards last year after a late switch.
Gordon Elliot and Henry de Bromhead have been taking turns dining off the Plate in the last four years. Valseur Lido, Poker Party and Heron Heights line up for de Bromhead. Rachael Blackmore will be onboard Poker Party looking to become the first female rider to be successful since 1989.
Elliot has a half dozen in the line up including third reserve Mill Quest. Mark Enright was the man on board last year's winner Clarcam in the changed blue Gigginstown hat, this year he will wear the blue hat again, but on Barra, a faller when last seen at Kilbeggan.
Elliot himself says Mengli Khan could be his best chance, it will be an interesting year for sire Lope de Vega were Mengli Khan to win the race on Wednesday. It would add a Galway Plate to a Breeder's Cup and a Classic within twelve months to the Ballylinch Stallion's CV. Grand National-winning rider Davy Russell will be on board the six-year-old who can be a tricky customer but he is in handicap company for the first time over fences.
The shortest-priced of the Elliot brigade though is Borice. The son of Network has won two minor hurdle contests in the UK on the last two starts maintaining his chase mark and sneaking in right at the bottom of the handicap. Borice only arrived in Elliot's yard in late 2018 and his first two starts were in the Paddy Power and the Theyestes Chase, confidence can be inferred from that placing alone.
The others standing their ground at the top of the market are Snugsborough Benny for Liam Cusack, who won the Balzers at the track last summer. Peter Fahey's summer star Peregrine Run is looking for six wins on the spin since May. Another dropping to handicap company for the first time since his hurdling days is the Eddie Harty trained Coney Island. He's around 10/1 for owner JP McManus, who will be looking for a pick me up after Limerick lost at the weekend.