Pat Smullen is relishing what promises to be another winner-packed week amid a "special atmosphere" at Galway.
The 35-year-old is red-hot favourite to lift the leading Flat jockeys' crown at Ballybrit for the sixth successive time, and starts his challenge with three rides, led by Encrypted Message in the Galway Oyster Hotel Handicap.
Smullen's association with his boss Dermot Weld during this of all weeks is legendary and the master of Rosewell House will seek a staggering 26th top trainer title, having had a record-breaking 17 winners 12 months ago.
Smullen said: "If you don't have a horse that acts and travels around Galway you're going to be in trouble because you need to get a good position early and if you don't get that you'll always find it difficult to fight your way thorough a field.
"In saying that, sometimes they go too fast and you have to bide your time and sit back because when they meet the hill, they can stop, so you can ride the track any which way providing you have a horse that travels.
"Some horses go there and absolutely hate the place - that's the other side of it, a good horse can get beaten there with the undulations of the track and nine times out of 10 there are full fields and the races can be rough, so some horses just don't act on the track at all.
"When they don't act on it, a horse that could be capable of winning the race could end up finishing almost last, but that's just the nature of the racecourse.
"If you have a horse that jumps, travels and carries you there on the bridle, that's a big help and a horse with those attributes can run above himself at Galway.
"The atmosphere that's created there by everybody involved is something special too, so not only do I look forward to Galway because I'm there riding horses that have real chances, but I think overall there's just a very good carnival atmosphere at what is our best festival meeting."
On the number of Dermot Weld winners, Stan James spokesman Joseph Burke said: "Our opening show is 6-4 under 10 winners, 3-1 for 10-12 inclusive and 6-4 about 13 or more winners. Pat Smullen is 1-6 to be top Flat rider, while Weld's amateur rider Robbie McNamara is 3-1 second-favourite (behind Ruby Walsh) as he bids for a hat-trick of jumps jockeys' crowns."