Ballyegan the hero at Galway

Ballyegan Hero and Rachael Blackmore win the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle

Ballyegan Hero just got the better of a thrilling finish to the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle, the feature event on the sixth day of the Galway Festival.

After Hidden Cyclone and Phil The Flyer led the field for much of the two-mile-six-furlong test, the race ignited when first Lagostovegas and then Ballyegan Hero made their bids for home.

Lagostovegas kept on for third, with Mr Showtime fourth.

John Joe Walsh's 16-1 chance looked to have it won in the straight under Rachael Blackmore, but Only Mine produced a stirring late challenge and appeared to have picked off the winner, although the photograph showed otherwise.

Walsh said: "He had a low weight and stays well. I'm a bit surprised as I thought he might get a place. Rachael gave him a cracking ride, and the rain may have helped as it made the ground a bit looser.

"I thought he was beaten from where I was standing. That's probably my biggest win in terms of prize-money. I've won plenty of big races in the past like the Kerry National, Munster National and the Troytown."

His only other runner this week, Davids Charm (also owned by Tom O'Brien), won on Wednesday

Dermot Weld ended an interminably long wait by his standards for a first winner of the week when Aydoun strode out an emphatic victor of the O'Leary Insurances Maiden Hurdle.

Usually a prolific winner at the meeting, Weld had been out of luck for the first five days, but his 13-2 chance travelled ominously into contention approaching the final flight.

Favourite Big Ben was upsides at the last, but Aydoun finished much the strongest under Bryan Cooper, coming home six lengths to the good.

Cooper said: "He'd a lovely run the last day and had a little blow afterwards. I was worried what he'd find when he came off it but he won going away. He likes that soft ground.

"Mr Weld doesn't tie you down to instructions. He left it up to me."

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