Road claims Plate riches
Shane Shortall enjoyed a day to remember as he partnered Road To Riches to a wide-margin win in thetote.com Galway Plate at the Ballybrit track.
The 7lb claimer had earlier enjoyed a win aboard Greatness, but that was merely the warm-up as he stole all the plaudits with a prominent ride in the feature event of the day.
There were several casualties in the valuable handicap chase, but Shortall had his mount in the best place, up with the lead throughout the two-and-three-quarter-mile contest.
Lord Ben kept Road To Riches (14/1) company for most of the race, but lost his pitch at the business end as the Noel Meade-trained seven-year-old, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, pulled away in the closing stages.
Burn And Turn (16/1) made solid late progress to take second place, some 11 lengths behind the emphatic winner, with Balnaslow (9/1), also owned by Gigginstown, third. Spring Heeled (10/1) was fourth.
Shortall said: "That was brilliant, unbelievable! I got a dream spin off him the whole way around - after the third fence, I never saw another horse.
"He's as genuine as you could meet, he was brilliant. There was nothing coming to edge him on but he still galloped all the way to the line for me.
"I rode an E18,000 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."
Meade admitted the race had been the target for his charge since he won at Punchestown back in May.
He said: "That was the plan since Punchestown. He went a fair gallop but he was always comfortable.
"I think that was Shane's first ride for me. Ger (Fox) would have been riding him put for breaking his collarbone, but that's racing.
"That's the only one of the big races (at Galway) that I haven'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."