Trainer Tom Mullins achieved a long-held ambition as Bob Lingo lifted the www.thetote.com Galway Plate in
the colours of JP McManus.
McManus had seven of the final declarations and while two of those did not take part because of the testing ground, the Grand National-winning owner went one better than last year when Wise Old Owl was runner-up to Blazing Tempo.
It was the same two jockeys who fought out the finish, as last year’s winner Paul Townend set sail for home early on Casey Top but Mark Walsh came between that one and Cross Appeal rounding the turn for home before pulling clear for a five-length success.
A 16-1 chance, Bob Lingo ran a good race at Fairyhouse in April and had teed himself up for this with a run on the level.
Blackstairmountain ran on from the rear to claim third, just pipping Cross Appeal and Nina Carberry.
Mullins, who enjoyed tremendous success in the spring with Alderwood in the McManus colours, including at Cheltenham, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, a great day, I couldn’t believe it.
“I haven’t won the Plate before, I thought I had a good chance last year with Dr Whizz but he just hit a lull so it’s nice to win it this year.
“He was off a lovely weight, 10st 3lb, but he’s a very difficult horse to train. He had a wind problem early in the year which we sorted out.
“He’s a lovely horse, I bought him myself at Goffs, I know he’s a 10-year-old now but we’re just getting to know him.” Walsh said: “It’s a great place to win here, when you come round the corner and see the crowd it’s great.
“The McManus family and Frank Berry (racing manager) are very good to me and I’m delighted to repay them.”
Trainer Dermot Weld struck for the fifth time at this year’s Galway Festival as Diplomat (4-1) put his head in front right on the line under Pat Smullen to deny Our Conor in the Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap.
Weld said: “Pat got him balanced and produced him to perfection. He’s a soft-ground horse, he stays and that’s how he won.”