Galway Races: 16-1 outside shot 'Bob Lingo' lands McManus Galway plate
BOB Lingo (16-1) stormed clear to give owner JP McManus victory in the 'thetote.com' Galway Plate.
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.
Trained by Tom Mullins, who enjoyed great success with Alderwood in the spring, Bob Lingo had run a good race at Fairyhouse in April and had teed himself up for this with a run on the level.
Willie Mullins' Blackstairmountain ran on from the rear to claim third, just pipping Cross Appeal and Nina Carberry.
Mullins 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 ran well at Wexford then won a nice handicap at Fairyhouse on similar ground to today and then ran well at Punchestown.
"He even ran well on the Flat the last day and we just had to keep him well and healthy for today. He did a lap of honour the last day so all things were telling us he was well.
"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: "Sometimes he can be very hard to ride but when he's on a going day and he's on good form he's hard to beat.
"I won a beginners chase on him by 20 lengths at Fairyhouse and he won the Dan Moore there last season, those good handicap chases when they go a good gallop seem to suit him as they help him settle.
"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 are very good to me and I'm delighted to repay them."