Balko Des Flos bags Galway Plate
Balko Des Flos foiled a massive gamble on Shaneshill in the TheTote.com Galway Plate as Davy Russell partnered Henry de Bromhead's charge to a convincing win in the feature race on the third day at the Galway Races.
Making his first appearance since finishing third in a novice handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old was a 6-1 chance to provide De Bromhead with his second Plate success following the victory of Shanahan's Turn two years ago.
The French-bred gelding travelled well throughout for Russell and was never too far off the pace being set by British challenger Vintage Vinnie.
Sandymount Duke, owned by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones, jumped to the front three fences from home, but Balko Des Flos was always in his slipstream and took over with two accurate leaps at the final two obstacles.
Shaneshill, who was available at 11-1 with one form this morning before being sent off the 3-1 favourite, got rolling after the home turn, but Balko Des Flos never looked in serious danger of being caught and passed the post a comfortable four and three-quarter lengths clear of the market leader in second.
Slowmotion was third and A Toi Phil, another Gigginstown representative, was fourth.
Russell said: "He was very good and all the credit must go to Henry and the team really.
"He travelled and jumped and I got to the front early enough, but the last thing I asked Davy Roche (De Bromhead's assistant) going out was whether he'd stay and he said 'absolutely, stamina is not an issue', so I was happy enough to let him go.
"I winged the last two fences and it's hard to give away that advantage by sitting up and pulling back.
"The horse was really fit and he was brave up the hill.
"I've never won this race, so it's nice to do it."