Shane Shortall put in the race of his life to land his biggest ever career victory in the €200,000 thetote.com Galway Plate on the Noel Meade trained Road To Riches.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding was sent off at odds of 14-1 and was the beneficiary of yet another brilliant display from the young star in the saddle, who lead the pack for the whole race.
“I think that was Shane’s first ride for me. Ger (Fox) would have been riding him but he broke his collarbone but that’s racing. We bought him off Martin Cullinane who only trains about six miles from here,” Noel Meade said.
“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,” the trainer added.
The feature victory for Shortall, which was presented by President Michael D. Higgins, completed a double for the Moate rider on day three of the Galway festival.
“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,” Shortall said.
Shortall, who is based with Meath trainer Tony Martin, came in for praise from his boss following his winning ride on Greatness in the €40,000 Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle an hour before his Galway Plate triumph.
“He’s serious value for his seven pound claim and he won’t have it too long so we better make use of it while he still has it. He’s going to be a very good rider,” Martin said.
Wednesday’s action revolved around a number of young riders demonstrating their talents in the saddle.
Johnny Burke got the ball rolling for the youngsters at Ballybrit when he won the Download The Tote Mobile App European Breeders Fund Mares Handicap Hurdle on the Liz Doyle-trained Cacheofgold.
Finny Maguire earned his moment in the spotlight when guiding Whitey O’Gwaun to win the Grab A Grand With Tote Maiden following what could have been race-ending interference with another horse rounding the turn past the stands.
The 16-year-old Maguire kept his cool and went on to record a wide margin success, in doing so, impressing Dermot Weld.
“I’ve observed the rider and he’s an exceptionally nice guy – a fine young man. I was very impressed by his professionalism before the race,” Weld said.
Dermot Weld completed a double when Brooch ran out an easy winner of the concluding Tote Return All Profits To Irish Racing Maiden. Weld has now trained five winners so far this week at the Galway festival.
Another 16-year-old Sean Corby bagged a winner when pushing out the Kevin O’Donnell-trained Sophie’s World to win the Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap at odds of 14-1.
Meanwhile, the champion national hunt trainer Willie Mullins recorded his second winner of the week when Most Peculiar won the opening The €100,000 Tote Pick 6 Guarantee Maiden Hurdle.
Owned by Galway-man Philip Hackett, Most Peculiar landed the local triumph at odds of 11-2 under Paul Towned.
The overall attendance figures for Wednesday’s fixture was up 4,728 from last year with 18,766 patrons descending on Ballybrit as opposed to last year’s 14,038.
€830,962 (2014) €676,025 (2013)
€1,497,455 (2014) €1,013,700 (2013)