Tigris lands Galway thriller

Barry Geraghty celebrates winning the Galway Hurdle on Tigris River

Tigris River got up in the shadow of the post to win the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle at the Ballybrit course.

Swamp Fox looked the likely winner when he headed Airlie Beach at the final flight, but Barry Geraghty gained ground hand over fist on the run-in and was rewarded for his efforts on the Joseph O'Brien-trained six-year-old.

Geraghty, the retained jockey to owner JP McManus, only returned from injury on Monday but showed plenty of strength in the saddle to snatch the €177,000 first prize on the 5-1 chance, who was fifth 12 months ago.

Grade One-winning mare Airlie Beach kept on gamely for third place, with Joey Sasa fourth.

There was drama at the first flight when Ivan Grozny, Court Minstrel and Ancient Sands all came down.

Victory was extra special for the winning trainer, as it was 20 years ago that his father Aidan got his name on the roll of honour with Toast The Spruce.

"Barry gave him a great ride. The horse was probably flat out the whole way because he was probably a bit further back than ideal," O'Brien said of Tigris River, who won by a neck.

"I'm delighted as the preparation went perfect, but I didn't think he'd get there at the last. There's no stronger man in the saddle than Barry, though."

Geraghty said: "I said to Barry (Browne, rider of Swamp Fox) pulling up that you'll have 20 years to win one of these as that's how long I've been trying.

"Joseph had this fella in great shape. Having said that, he never looked a winner until the death.

"I wasn't confident of getting to the one in front, but my horse was brave."

McManus said: "Galway is a marvellous meeting and the excitement and the build up is so important. When Punchestown goes, everyone speaks about Galway and the Plate and the Hurdle, and what you might have that you can maybe programme them for.

"Joseph did a great job with Tigris River, because he's been looking after him since he ran here last year, when he didn't get the clearest of runs, and he thought maybe we should head back here this year.

"Joseph deserves this success, he's very dedicated – the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

"Barry's had a good Galway and it's great to have him back, he showed great strength to get him home, from the last especially."

Victory was extra special for the winning trainer, as it was 20 years ago that his father Aidan got his name on the roll of honour with Toast The Spruce."Barry gave him a great ride. The horse was probably flat out the whole way because he was probably a bit further back than ideal," O'Brien said of Tigris River, who won by a neck."I'm delighted as the preparation went perfect, but I didn't think he'd get there at the last. There's no stronger man in the saddle than Barry, though."Geraghty said: "I said to Barry (Browne, rider of Swamp Fox) pulling up that you'll have 20 years to win one of these as that's how long I've been trying."Joseph had this fella in great shape. Having said that, he never looked a winner until the death."I wasn't confident of getting to the one in front, but my horse was brave."McManus said: "Galway is a marvellous meeting and the excitement and the build up is so important. When Punchestown goes, everyone speaks about Galway and the Plate and the Hurdle, and what you might have that you can maybe programme them for."Joseph did a great job with Tigris River, because he's been looking after him since he ran here last year, when he didn't get the clearest of runs, and he thought maybe we should head back here this year."Joseph deserves this success, he's very dedicated – the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"Barry's had a good Galway and it's great to have him back, he showed great strength to get him home, from the last especially."

Read More at Sky Sports Racing

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