Swamp Fox overcame a difficult wide draw to win the Connacht Hotel Handicap, the feature race on day one of the Galway Festival under county Kildare jockey Barry Browne.
Galway 7.20 result: 1 Swamp Fox (16/1)
2 Ted Veale (14/1)
3 Benkei (13/2)
4 Renneti (9/1)
Swamp Fox had to break from stall 18, but Browne did a superb job to muscle his way into contention and was good value for his two-and-a-quarter-length defeat of big eyecatcher Ted Veale, who could also run in the Galway Hurdle later in the week.
Jocular made plenty of the running in the extended two-mile contest for qualified riders before he was overtaken by Asbury Boss with about a mile to go.
Katie Walsh’s partner still held a narrow advantage heading into the final three furlongs, but Benkei then took control.
His challenge from the front was short-lived, though, as Swamp Fox (16-1) gained the lead at the top of the straight and never looked back.
Benkei ended up finishing an honourable third, while Renneti was fourth.
Browne said after the race; “I thought during the race i’m too wide here but coming down into the dip he was travelling so well. I probably got to the front way too soon but I knew he would stay galloping the whole way up the hill so I sent him on. Sure look he was carrying 2 stone less than some horses so I might as well have made use of it. It felt a long way home from that final turn but I was delighted to pass the line in front anyway. This is definitely one of my biggest winners anyway.”