Fiesole set for Guinness test

The Guinness Handicap at Galway has long been a target for Fiesole

Eoin Doyle has his fingers crossed Fiesole can see out the trip in the 100,000 euro Guinness Handicap at Galway on Friday.

The mile-and-a-half handicap is the feature race on day five of the Festival, with 16 horses going to post.

Fiesole has been in terrific form, both on the Flat and over hurdles.

Not surprisingly with such a big purse on offer, Doyle has had his eyes on this prize for some time.

But the slight niggle at the back of his mind is if the five-year-old will get home in a strongly-run race with a stiff finish.

"He's in really good form, couldn't be better," said Doyle.

"He's been running well for a while, but this was the race I always wanted to run in.

"My one worry would be the fact that it is a stiff finish here and because of the way the race is likely to be run, it will become a real test.

"If he sees out the trip I can see him running a really big race.

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"We'll keep him on the go on the Flat for now as I do think he's well handicapped over hurdles."

Heading the weights is Joseph O'Brien's Cook Islands, who is wearing headgear for the first time.

He is running on the Flat for the first time since joining his current stable, having previously been housed at Ballydoyle.

Ger Lyons runs Song Of Namibia and Mawaany, while Tony Martin is represented by Moonmeister, The Moore Factor, Sweet Company and The Plan Man.

Whiskey Sour, winner of the big amateur race on the opening day, will be ridden by Declan McDonough under a 7lb penalty.

Henry de Bromhead will attempt to win back-to-back renewals of the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase with On Fiddlers Green.

De Bromhead also runs the JP McManus-owned Riviera Sun, the mount of Barry Geraghty, Full Cry and Show And Go.

Stephen Mahon saddles three horses, including Aranhill Chief, who won the race in 2014 and finished second 12 months ago.

"He's 10 now but as good as ever but he's never been as good on soft ground," said Mahon.

"He has won a bumper on soft and you'd think he might handle hit better at his age but there's no doubt he likes nice ground.

"It's a real shame but there's nothing we can do, if he was seven we might pull him out but he's 10 and rated 130 so where else can he go?

"You have to play the hand you are dealt. He's in great form mind.

"I also run Smokey Joe Joe and Champagne Harmony. They'll handle the ground OK but you'd be worried if they lack the experience for a race like this."

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