McGuiness lining up sizeable squad for Galway Festival

Ado McGuiness is preparing to send a squad of as many as 20 runners to the seven-day Galway Festival.

His team will be led by course specialist Current Option, who is searching for a fourth consecutive win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahonoora” Handicap on the final day of the meeting.

The seven-year-old has quality form to his name having won the Concorde Stakes and the Listed Platinum Stakes previously and has registered six victories for connections.

McGuinness said: “This is a Group Three horse, and a Listed winner as well, who’s running in a handicap.

“If you drop a Group Three horse back into a handicap, he’s usually the best horse in the race and usually when you have the best horse in the race they win.

“You very often find Group Three horses running in premier handicaps off top weight and they often win them.

“I’m privileged that I have horses like Current Option who can run in premier handicaps.”

As in previous years, Current Option will once again warm up for his favoured Galway race by running in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap on the Tuesday beforehand.

“Current Option will run in the big mile race on the Tuesday as well as the race on the Sunday. He was placed in the mile race last year and I’ll take either. I don’t mind which one of them he wins!” McGuinness said.

“He’s quite a fresh and highly-strung horse, so if you just left him for one race he could be very fresh. Usually we target the two races with him.

“We ride him out in a hood most of the time at home. Ruby Walsh was up here a few weeks ago and he couldn’t believe he still rides out in a hood given his age but he is still as enthusiastic as ever.

“He’s in cracking form and my biggest problem I have is to try to hold his form for next two weeks. We’re looking forward to him running and just look at the form he has over there, he just loves the place.”

Saltonstall, Casanova, Sirjack Thomas, No More Porter, Hightimeyouwon, Laugh A Minute, Star Harbour, Half Nutz and Exquisite Acclaim are all pencilled in for the meeting, a fixture both McGuinness and his owners look forward to every season.

“Galway is a place where an ordinary fella can get results,” he explained. “You can have a nice, well-handicapped, horse who can do very well at Galway. An ordinary fella can make a name for himself there.

“The amount of recognition you get when you have a winner during race week at Galway is unbelievable, it’s better than three or four winners at one of the ordinary country tracks. It’s a place where you can make a name for yourself.

“I will have between 15 and 20 for the week, I’d say. You can only win the Lotto with one ticket, but the more tickets you have, the better chance you have of winning. That’s the way I look at it.”

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