Grand National Punters Should Look to the Galway Plate for 2023 Pointers

20th July 2022

It’s amazing that a race that takes place on quick ground at the height of summer can prove to be such a proving ground ahead of the rather cooler and softer-underfoot Grand National meeting at Aintree each April.

But the Galway Plate, held as part of a seven-day festival at the Irish track each July, has served up many interesting runners and riders who would go on to compete forcibly in the Grand National or in one of the meeting’s other key renewals.

Those who bet on horse racing with Paddy Power are able to live stream the Galway Races via their betting site or app, and anyone with a keen interest in a flutter or two on the Merseyside showpiece next April may be well served in firing up the action on their laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Ahead of the Galway odds being published for 2022, it’s likely that Castlegrace Paddy – who won impressively at Killarney earlier in the month – will be amongst the market principles. It’s rare that jumps racing is run in conditions that are as hot and firm as those that Ireland is experiencing in the midst of some high temperatures, and so the form of the Pat Fahy-trained horse will be of interest indeed.

To whet your appetite in the months leading up to the Grand National meeting, here are some horses who have fared well in the Galway Plate and gone on to enjoy success at Aintree.

Repeat Performers

The 2021 edition of the Galway Plate was won by Willie Mullins’ Royal Rendezvous, and placing at a handsome price of 20/1 for his backers was Modus.

Intriguingly, the JP McManus-owned 11-year-old has a stack of eye-catching form at Aintree to his name already, not least a win in a handicap chase on Merseyside back in November 2020 and a run to third place in the prestigious Sefton Chase that same year.

Finishing behind Modus at Galway was The Shunter, a horse who would go on to win at the Cheltenham Festival and finish second in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree behind Dan Skelton’s Gold Cup contender Protektorat.

Cabaret Queen finished third in the 2020 edition of the Galway Plate, scoring each-way backers a handsome 33/1 payday. What’s more, those who backed the Skelton-trained horse in the following year’s Grand National at enhanced places also would have netted a handy return – the nine-year-old finishing in ninth place at a huge 80/1.

It’s not always the high-placed finishers in the Galway Plate whose performances should be tracked. Valseur Lido finished way down the field in the 2019 edition of the Plate, but this is a horse who twice finished inside the top ten of the Grand National at odds of 66/1. In that same edition of the Galway showpiece, Yorkhill unseated jockey Paul Townend – he was a handsome Mersey Novices’ Hurdle winner at Aintree.

Balko Des Flos, the 2017 Galway Plate winner, also finished as runner-up in the Grand National, so there is a body of evidence to suggest that those who intend on placing ante-post bets on next season’s National Hunt showpiece occasions should be treating the Galway Festival this July as an integral scouting mission.