LAST year’s Guinness Galway Hurdle-winning trainer Willie Mullins has made 11 entries for next Thursday's renewal and a strong-looking team is headed by the dual Grade 1 scorer Saldier.
The trainer's 2020 Triumph Hurdle winner Burning Victory and Ciel De Neige are also to be found towards the head of the weights with Foveros, twice a winner at Galway, and Jazzaway other eye-catching entries for the champion trainer.
Petit Mouchoir, another two-time Grade 1 winner and third in the race a year ago, is the early joint top-weight on 11st 10lb with Saldier and is one of five entries for Denise Foster.
The Cullentra trainer can also call upon the unbeaten juvenile Duffle Coat, Call Me Lyreen, Eclair De Beaufeu and Magic Tricks.
An exciting local entry is certainly the Michael Hogan-owned Sole Pretender (11st 5lb) who finished fifth in the race behind Tudor City two years ago. Norman Lee’s charge is clearly in the best of form having won the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary on his most recent outing.
He beat the Joseph O'Brien-trained Darasso to win that afternoon and the latter is one of five the Piltown trainer has in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. Peter Fahey has his Cheltenham Festival winner and Aintree Grade 1 hero Belfast Banter (10st 13lbs) in the early line-up, while Hearts Are Trumps, sixth in the race in 2019 and second last year is there again for Des McDonogh.
The 2019 winner Tudor City would be running at the Galway Festival for the seventh consecutive year if taking his chance for trainer Tony Martin.
Emmet Mullins has both Zero Ten and Cape Gentleman in the race while Henry de Bromhead has made a single entry, Annexation.
There are three British-trained entries in the Hurdle. Copperless, the runaway winner of the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May, could take his chance for Olly Murphy, while Neil Mulholland has put in his Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Milkwood. Brian Ellison has five Galway Festival winners to his name and has entered Mrs Hyde, a four-time winner over hurdles.