Galway: Road To Riches wins Plate in fine style
Road To Riches dictated matters in an eventful renewal of thetote.com Galway Plate on Wednesday, providing Noel Meade with his first victory in the Ballybrit highlight.
Trained by Meade, the seven-year-old led from an early stage and jumped aggressively from the front in the 2m 6f handicap. With a reduced lead going to two out, young jockey Shane Shortall gathered the son of Gamut and the pair pulled clear in effortless fashion to win by an eased down 11 lengths.
There were several casualties early on including favourite Alderwood under AP McCoy but Burn And Turn stayed on well to take second place for Jessica Harrington, with Balnaslow, also owned by Gigginstown, third. The well supported Spring Heeled finished back in fourth.
7Ib claimer Shortall was completing the second part of a 74/1 double after his win earlier on Greatness.
Winning trainer Noel Meade stated: “This was Eddie’s (O’Leary) plan. I thought he’d have top-weight if he came here and I was delighted to see Kid Cassidy in.
“Willie (Mullins) was behind me when they started up the hill and he clapped me on the back. At that stage I wondered did he have a lead-cloth on him at all he was winning so easy.
“He was out of all the trouble the whole way and with Shane it’s obviously a case of an old head on young shoulders.
“Michael (O’Leary) is not here but I’m sure he’s watching in. They’ve had the third too in Willie’s Balnaslow. Johnathan Burke, another young man going places, was on him.
“Being by Gamut, and Gamut is by Spectrum, most of them want good ground. Probably that’s the key to him and he does want to come into a race fresh. He jumped brilliant.
“He went a fair gallop but he was always comfortable. He jumped so well he gave himself a chance, and every fence was a help to him.
“I think that was Shane’s first ride for me. Ger (Fox) would have been riding him put for breaking his collarbone (at Wexford last Friday) but that’s racing. We bought him off Martin Cullinane who only trains about six miles from here.
“That’s the only one of the big races (at Galway) that I hadn’t won. I’ve been second in it I think three or four times. I’m absolutely thrilled as the Plate is something you want to win.
“I’m sure the handicapper is not going to be too nice to him after that, he won so easy. I’m sure he’s a Graded horse, there is no doubt about that. His handicapping days might be over after that. Good ground is essential.”
Shortall added: “I can’t believe it and he gave me a dream spin the whole way. From pretty early on I didn’t see another horse and I was waiting on something to come to me but they never did.
“He was so game and this is just the stuff of dreams.”
“I rode an €18,000 handicap winner two weeks ago and I thought that was brilliant, but to win the Galway Plate is the stuff of dreams. I wasn’t getting out of bed this morning expecting to ride a double. It might never happen again so I’ll make the most of it.”
By Joseph Smyth / Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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