Bob gets the job done as Walsh atones for near miss last yearAugust 3, 2012 - 7:00am
Wednesday Report by John McIntyre
IRELAND’S top National Hunt owner, JP McManus, threw the kitchen sink at Wednesday’s Tote sponsored Galway Plate and the Limerick native’s mob-handed approach paid rich dividends with 16/1 outsider Bob Lingo scooping the biggest pot on the summer chasing calendar.
The five lengths success of the Tony Mullins trained 10-year-old, which had warmed up for a tilt at the €200,000 feature with an encouraging effort on the level in Killarney recently, saw winning jockey Mark Walsh go one better than 12 months ago when only Blazing Tempo got the better of his mount, Wise Old Owl.
Last year’s runner-up was also back in Ballybrit for another crack at the Plate, but this time was partnered by multiple UK champion Tony McCoy, leaving Walsh free to link up with Bob Lingo and, in the process, achieve the biggest win of his career to date.
Walsh said afterwards that Bob Lingo was a little out of his ground early on, but some accurate jumping saw him gradually make his way forward. “The horse travelled beautifully and I thought he was always going to win after jumping the last.
“I took my time in going by the front two, and just waited for the split. He loves soft ground and the rain has loosened it out. It’s just brilliant to ride the winner of the Galway Plate and it is definitely the highlight of my career so far.”
Almost from flagfall, Casey Top and last year’s winning jockey, Paul Townend, cut out the gallop with Cross Appeal and the pair had still to be headed on the approach to the home turn. It was evident, however, that Bob Lingo was travelling better in behind and when Walsh drove his mount between them, there was never any doubt about the result.
The gallant Casey Top stayed on for second with long-time ante post favourite, Blackstairmountain, pipping Cross Appeal for third in the shadow of the post. There was a massive off-course and on-track gamble on Edward O’Grady’s Out Now, but the bookmakers were singing in the rain when Barry Geraghty’s mount came off the bridle coming down the hill.
There was a tardy start to the race with Jamsie Hall missing the kick and being pulled up past the stands on the first circuit, but there were no real hard luck stories as flu victim McManus, who was an absentee, saw his colours carried to Galway Plate glory for the fifth time following the triumphs of Shining Flame. Grimes, Far From Trouble and Finger Onthe Pulse in the past.
Racing got underway with the Tote Pick Six Maiden Hurdle and, if the betting market was to be taken at face value, it was just a two horse race – both Too Scoops (11/8) and the Tony Martin trained Ted Veale (6/4) was backed almost to the exclusion of the rest of the field.
But the punters were left bruised when 8/1 shot Gold Ability threw a spanner in their works by edging out Too Scoops after a protracted battle up the straight on the testing ground and justifiably survived the subsequent Steward’s inquiry.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.