Elliott seeks Galway glory
Gordon Elliott believes Timiyan has the right profile to provide the trainer with an elusive first victory in the Guinness Galway Hurdle.
The Cullentra handler saddled three consecutive runners-up of the prestigious 300,000 euro contest, with Cause Of Causes, Flaxen Flare and Bayan all finding one too good between 2012 and 2014.
The Elliott-trained Dirar was also third in 2010 and 2011.
This year the County Meath handler has three contenders, with Timiyan appearing the stable's number one hope, having won each of his two starts since moving from Dermot Weld's stables.
"We've been second three times, so it would be nice to win it," said Elliott.
"He (Timiyan) does nothing fancy at home but does everything right on the track. I think he's in good form.
"He's got a lovely weight of 10st 4lb, so I'm looking forward to running him.
"That's the type of horse you want. We know he stays and with a bit of luck he'll run a big race."
Elliott also saddles Automated and The Game Changer.
Timiyan is one of seven runners for leading owner JP McManus along with Tony Martin's 2014 winner Thomas Edison, Joseph O'Brien's pair of Plinth and Tigris River, the Tom Mullins-trained Princely Conn, Western Boy from Pat Fahy's yard and John Quinn's British challenger Project Bluebook.
McManus also has the first reserve, All The Answers, another O'Brien inmate.
The owner's retained rider Barry Geraghty has sided with Tigris River, who is a course-and-distance winner, was fifth in last year's renewal and won comfortably at Bellewstown last month.
Geraghty said: "It obviously wasn't a straightforward choice, but he (Tigris River) won nicely the last day and ran a good race in this last year. He's a hopeful choice.
"Timiyan comes into the race in good form and Thomas Edison has won the race before and was going well when he fell at the last the following year, so he was in the melting pot, too."
Willie Mullins won the race for a second time with Clondaw Warrior 12 months ago and the admirable dual-purpose performer is back to defend his crown under top weight.
Mullins has four contenders, with stable jockey Ruby Walsh siding with Max Dynamite over Clondaw Warrior (Katie Walsh), Ivan Grozny (Danny Mullins) and the mare Airlie Beach (Paul Townend).
Max Dynamite has his first run over jumps since filling the runner-up spot behind Quick Jack two years ago, since which he has won a Lonsdale Cup and finished a close second in a Melbourne Cup.
The seven-year-old has not been seen in competitive action since finishing down the field in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last summer.
"It was fantastic to win this prize last year aboard Clondaw Warrior, but he's plenty of weight this time, as does Ivan Grozny," Walsh told his Paddy Power blog.
"Max Dynamite has already finished second to Quick Jack here in 2015 – and went on to finish runner-up in the Melbourne Cup also.
"It was a close call between him and Airlie Beach, who won the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle last season, is a course winner and will carry the same weight as Max Dynamite."
Airlie Beach has won seven of her 11 starts for the Supreme Horse Racing Club and was a close third on her return from a break and Flat debut at Killarney a fortnight ago.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: "She ran a cracker to chase home Apple's Jade at Punchestown and hopefully she's come on for her comeback run on the Flat at Killarney a couple of weeks ago.
"She's in foal to Mount Nelson, so we don't have that long left to enjoy her and we're just hoping for another good run and that she comes back safe and sound.
"She's won at Galway before, so we know she likes the course and Paul (Townend) has won on her three times.
"For what she cost us it's been a dream come true for everyone involved."
Other contenders in a 20-strong field include Joe Murphy's Swamp Fox, who finished runner-up in the Connacht Hotel Handicap on Monday evening, and Henry de Bromhead's hat-trick-seeker Ornua.
Along with All The Answers, the two other reserves are Morga and St Stephens Green.
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