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3 expert tips for Thursday's racing at the Galway Races

Johnny Ward brings you his picks for the Galway Hurdle and more.

Mt Leinster runs in the Galway Hurdle.
Mt Leinster runs in the Galway Hurdle.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ALL EYES ARE on Ballybrit this week as the Galway Races go ahead behind closed doors. 

Thanks to William Hill, top racing journalist Johnny Ward has chosen his tips for Thursday’s card. 

Mt Leinster – 12/1 (Guinness Galway Hurdle, 6.45pm)

There will not be much of the sponsor’s product consumed at the track Thursday as the Guinness Galway Hurdle (6.45) takes centre stage, but we can enjoy a few if Willie Mullins and Mt Leinster do the job at odds of 12/1 with William Hill.

Racing continues behind closed doors at the Connacht venue into day four. Hills goes six places in a 20-runner race, giving punters a good chance, and so will Mt Leinster if he performs as he did here Monday. Having missed the break, Mt Leinster ran freely out wide, without cover, and rarely looked like winning, until everything else came under pressure and he found enough to beat Ciel D’afrique pretty readily, that horse well-fancied by Dermot Weld.

Mt Leinster was so-called because connections were waiting for a good horse to honour the mountain that overlooks Closutton, from where Willie Mullins has trained two of the last four runners of this race. Mt Leinster was a novice hurdler last season and was really sharp when right, winning a maiden hurdle by nine lengths, but persistently giving the impression he needed to learn how to race properly. The exertions of Monday should take the freshness out of him.

Including reserves, Mullins has just the seven declared, with Buildmeupbuttercup having more than enough ability as well as Paul Townend’s help, but she is frustrating. The only overseas runner is Hunters Call, who has won both starts for Olly Murphy, having been trained in Galway by John Nielan.

Red Gerry – 4/1 (Galway Novice Hurdle, 4.45pm)

Red Gerry did not jump quite well enough to beat Cerberus when last seen last November but Noel Meade will have worked on that and, with Eoin Walsh claiming 7lb, he is fascinating getting weight off previous winners in the opening Guinness Novice Hurdle (4.45).

He appeals as the type to do well over hurdles, once he gets his act together, and he has been likeable on the Flat.

Lusis Naturea – 16/1 (Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle, 6.15pm)

Lusis Naturea is an interesting runner for the in-form Paul Traynor in the Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle (6.15). Rated just 95, and with Conor Orr claiming 5lb, he has plenty in his favour if Traynor can get him back to his best and he ran really well in Galway last year when sent off hot favourite.

Odds above correct at the time of writing. For all the latest prices, visit williamhill.com. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see BeGambleAware.org

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