On the eve of the Galway Festival 2013 Crockford asks can Dermot Weld be crowned the King of Ballybrit for a 27th time?

The master of Rosewell has reigned supreme at the Galway Festival for over quarter of a century,  and has an affinity for the meeting that goes back even further. Aged 11 he led his first victor  back into the Winner’s Enclosure for his father and rode his first winner at the meeting when he was just fifteen. In 2011 his dominance reached its pinnacle when he sent out seventeen winners making last year’s excellent score of nine look meagre in comparison. The King of Ballybrit has become almost a legend with an air of expectation surrounding each and every one of his entries at the Festival. Tomorrow and the week ahead will be no different.

With Ruby Walsh having been booked to ride Diplomat in the first race (5.10) the expectation of a winner will reach fever pitch. The dual purpose horse beat none other than Our Connor last year and looks an opening banker. Weld is not adverse to running horse more than once at the meeting so don’t be surprised if  Diplomat takes his chance again later in the week.

Dermot Weld’s partnership with Pat Smullen has produced tremendous success in previous years and looks set to do so again. The whisper from Rosewell is that the yard’s two-year-old runners have to be respected. Smullen is booked to ride  Mutajeeb who runs in the two year old maiden (6.10) tomorrow. The combination of the touted factors will ensure a short price for this probable victor.

Jane Mangan, Connor King and RP McNamara have  also been booked to ride on the first day for the stable and have strong chances of adding to the winning tally. Pat Smullen takes the remaining ride for the yard on the interesting three-year-old Peace Accord in (7.15).

Dermot Weld’s First Day Entries:

Diplomat (5.10) – Ruby Walsh

Mustajeeb (6.10) – Pat Smullen

Notable Graduate (6.45) – Miss J Mangan

Peace Accord (7.15) – Pat Smullen

Pay Day Kitten (7.45) – Connor King

Marty’s Magic (8.15) – Mr RP McNamara

Weld has told the media that he will have less runners than usual at the meeting making his chance of beating his record number winners a distant one. The Master Of Rosewell tends to start the meeting strongly so punters can count on him landing a handful of winners in the first two days.

Punters be warned that even with a smaller team and the strengthening of O’Brien and Mullins’ hand Weld’s dominance of the Galway Festival for 27th year can not be in question.


(Featured Photograph – Pat Smullen on Rite of Passage for Dermot Weld by Stuart Rice)





Rite of Passage