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Favourite Carlingford Lough wins Galway Plate

Updated: Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 20:12 | Comments

Tony McCoy steered Carlingford Lough home in Galway
Tony McCoy steered Carlingford Lough home in Galway

Carlingford Lough only made it into the field for the tote.com Galway Plate at the 11th hour but his late inclusion paid dividends as he landed a gamble in the festival showpiece.

The John Kiely-trained seven-year-old was first reserve for the race after a full field of 22 horses were declared, but the withdrawal of fellow JP McManus-owned runner on account of the rain-softened ground allowed ante-post favourite Carlingford Lough to take his place in the race.

Partnered by Tony McCoy, Carlingford Lough was sent off the 7-2 market leader in one of the most competitive races of the domestic season but his supporters endured a nail-biting few minutes as the result looked far from certain some way out.

Mr Cracker set a testing early gallop and Fosters Cross and Tranquil Sea looked likely to be major players as the field approached the penultimate fence in the two-mile-six-furlong heat, with Carlingford Lough coming under pressure and seemingly having plenty to do.

However, McCoy's famed never-say-die will to win came into play on the long run for home as Carlingford Lough emerged from the pack to stake his claim with only around 100 yards to go.

Fellow McManus runner Quantitativeeasing was in front with the post in sight, but a late lunge from McCoy saw the favourite grab glory by a length and a half.

Jacksonslady made it a one-two-three for McManus in third with Muirhead completing the frame in fourth. 

McCoy, winning his second Plate after Finger Onthe Pulse in 2010, said: "John Kiely has done a fantastic job with him. He won here last year, he had him spot on for today and there was no doubt the Galway Plate was his target from that day.

"You always give good rides when they win but he was very tough and genuine - anyone would have won on him. All credit should go to the trainer."

Kiely said: "It's lovely to have horses for JP as he always has good ones.

"You can't do it without the horse and he gave me the time to do what I wanted with him.

"I was disappointed at first when he was only first reserve but I thought there'd be a few non-runners with the ground changing. Indeed, I didn't think the ground would be ideal for us either.

"I've won a Plate now and two (Galway) hurdles so it doesn't get much better than that - I can retire now."

McManus, lifting the Plate for the sixth time, said: "I was watching my other runners for most of it but in the end AP lifted his fella home. It's just great to win it."

The stewards had earlier inquired into Like Your Style's withdrawal but accepted trainer Eddie Harty's assertion he did not want to subject the horse to a hard race in conditions far from ideal.

Tony Martin and Ruby Walsh teamed up to good effect with Blackmail and Victrix Gale giving the pair a short-priced double.

Martin started the day with three Festival winners and Blackmail (5-4 favourite) made it four with a bloodless victory in the 100,000 Euros Tote Pick Six Guarantee Maiden Hurdle.

Having his first outing over obstacles having been down the field in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and finishing second to stablemate Ted Veale on the level last time out, Walsh hardly had to get serious with his mount as he strolled home by 12 lengths.

Martin said: "He's not over-big but what he is is very agile and nimble. You'd like he's a horse that'll be going to Cheltenham again next March."

Victrix Gale (7-2 favourite) was a similarly comfortable winner of the 40,000 Euros Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle, seeing off Happy New by seven lengths to take Martin's tally to five.

"I'm just happy that they're running so well and it's great that they're winning," he said.

Robbie Dunne executed an excellent piece of front-running riding as he made all aboard 25-1 shot Pyrus Gold Wind in the Bet 10 Euros Get 10 Euros At thetote.com Handicap Hurdle.

Winning trainer Stephen Mahon said: "I told Robbie to keep it simple by jumping off in front even though it wasn't the ideal place to be.

"Hopefully Tom (Quinn, the winning owner) gets more horses now instead of cows."

Union Dues continued the theme of wide-margin winners as the 11-10 favourite emerged six lengths to the good in the Tote Win 24% Better Than Bookmakers SP (QR) Maiden.

Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by his son Patrick, Union Dues was having his first outing since finishing eighth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham back in March as he defied an early bump to easily account for runner-up Darwins Fox.

The winning rider said: "He was too keen at Cheltenham. If he'd settled he'd have been second or maybe even given the winner (Briar Hill) something to think about.

"I think he's a proper horse and he'll be a great dual-purpose type.

"I wouldn't mind riding him in the amateur handicap on the opening day here next year."

Dermot Weld got on the scoresheet for his fourth winner of the week as the Pat Smullen-ridden Lucky Kitten (11-8 favourite) stuck on well in the ground to lift the Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap.

And the master of Rosewell House joined Martin on five winners as Smullen and the long odds-on Jayed Jidan (1-5) took the concluding Tote Return All Profits To Irish Racing Maiden.

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