New Galway Plate to spend the year on JP's mantelpiece
Jockey Mark Walsh rides Bob Lingo home to win the The www.thetote.com Galway Plate at Ballybrit on Wednesday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy
By Declan Varley
The all-new Galway Plate will spend the next twelve months on JP McManus' mantelpiece after Bob Lingo pounced late on long-time leader Casey Top to give trainer Thomas Mullins victory in the Galway Plate last evening, a year after his brother Willie took the race.
Ridden by Mark Walsh for JP McManus, the 16-1 chance travelled smoothly into contention and took up the running in the home straight to stride clear of Casey Top. Blackstairmountain was third with Cross Appeal fourth.
Apart from Jamsie Hall proving a handful for jockey Paddy Brennan at the start and forfeiting plenty of ground and his chance there was little incident in the race as Casey Top led the runners around.
Approaching the turn for home, he was still going well but Ruby Walsh had snuck Blackstairmountain up into contention, while Wise Old Owl was also bang there for Tony McCoy.
However, neither was going as well as Bob Lingo - sporting the yellow cap of owner JP McManus, who had five runners in the race - and he moved up to tackle the leader in the home straight.
Bob Lingo moved past Casey Top with ease and allowed Walsh the chance to celebrate crossing the line with a forceful flick of the whip in the air.
Mullins, who was winning his first Galway Plate, said: "He was off a lovely weight but he's a difficult horse to train. He had a bit of a problem earlier in the year but we sorted that out. We knew he was well and knew he would give it a good go."
he winner was one of five runners for JP McManus and was giving the leading owner his second winner in three years.
"He's a very difficult horse to train but I felt he was never as fit or as well recently," said the winning trainer afterwards.
"He can be very hard on himself at home but I felt he was really well coming here.
"He had a great run in Killarney and did a lap of the track afterwards! My only worry was whether he would hold his form as he's had a long season.
"Mark Walsh gave him a peach of a ride as he can be a difficult horse to ride. My son David has been riding him at home and has done a good job on him.
"You have to have a lot of luck in the race and he was off the bridle early. I said then any mistake and he could go back and throw the towel in as he's that kind of horse. He had a good couple of jumps early and got into it sneakily. Mark knows him very well and it was great to get him as he wouldn't have had a chance without him.
It was a great result for Walsh, who had looked set to collect last year until the dying strides.
"That was brilliant and it made up for last year. I sat a bit longer this year and waited until they turned into the straight.
"He was brilliant. They went a good gallop and that's what he needs. He needs a strong gallop and in that soft ground he'll gallop through it like no other horse.
"He jumped brilliantly. It was a little bit dodgy with the loose getting in my way four and five out but he got me out of trouble."