Balko Des Flos an emphatic winner of Galway Plate

Wed 2 Aug 2017

Balko Des Flos claimed a comprehensive victory in TheTote.com Galway Plate.

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 trainer Henry de Bromhead with his second Plate success following the victory of Shanahan's Turn two years ago.

The French-bred gelding travelled well throughout in the hands of Davy Russell and was never too far off the pace being set by British challenger Vintage Vinnie.

Sandymount Duke jumped to the front three fences from home, but Balko Des Flos was always in his slipstream and took over with accurate leaps at the final two obstacles.

Shaneshill, the heavily-backed 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."

De Bromhead said: "It was brilliant and I'm delighted. He got a super ride and I can't believe we've won it again - it's amazing.

"He did it really well and hopefully he's an improving horse. You were certainly starting to think you had a right chance bar a fall or something nasty happening (from some way out).

"Davy was brilliant on him, but everything went our way today.

"We'll make a plan after I speak to Eddie and Michael (O'Leary). It was bottomless the day he won in Fairyhouse so he seems to go on anything really. It was great to see him handle that so well. I was a little bit concerned about the ground to be honest, that it might be too good for him."

He added: "He's already a proven winter horse, he won his beginners' chase at Fairyhouse in January so we'll see now if he can go to the next level."

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