Our expert marks your card for today's Galway Plate

Shaneshill and Ruby Walsh on the way to victory at Fairyhouse in 2015
Shaneshill and Ruby Walsh on the way to victory at Fairyhouse in 2015

Normally when studying the weights for Wednesday’s Galway Plate I look for a horse weighted at about 10-10 but there is always the time to make an exception.

Despite the fact that since the great Galway specialist Ansar won the second of his Plates for Dermot Weld back in 2005, no horse has managed to win the race with a weight more than 10-12, I am tempted beyond resistance to side with the Willie Mullins trained Shaneshill. 

The reason is pretty simple, really.  

He is a high class horse with the ability to race with the best over hurdles or fences and at eight years of age he is just about the right age for the race. 

Shaneshill hasn’t run over fences since Cheltenham of last year when he was beaten just half a length by Blacklion in the RSA Chase. Since then he has campaigned very well over hurdles and was third last time in a Grade 1 Hurdle at Auteuil. 

Willie Mullins will ensure that Shaneshill will have no more than 11-3 to carry as he has the top weight in the entries, Ballycasey.

Shaneshill will have no problems with the pace of the Plate and he should love the pull to the finish. 

Looking through the rest of the field, I am inclined to make decent cases for Road To Riches, Sandymount Duke, Balko Des Flos, Slowmotion and Shanpallas.  

Noel Meade’s Road To Riches is a very interesting candidate and it could be argued that he is better handicapped than Shaneshill. The ten year old won the Lexus Chase in 2014 and had won this race earlier that year when he turned it into a procession. 

He lost his form last season but Noel Meade is convinced that they have found and rectified the problem which held him back. 

So, instead of opting for the lower than 11 stone runners, I find myself opting for Shaneshill to win the Plate from Road To Riches and the improving mare Slowmotion which has just 10-6 to carry.