The testing conditions proved no barrier to the strapping five-year-old, who stayed on strongly in the closing stages to slam front-runner Hurricane Twister by no less than 15 lengths.
Lean And Keen is trained by Sean Byrne, said: “He’s a big strong horse and he’s getting better all the time. He loves soft ground, so we weren’t worried when all the rain came over the weekend.
“He won easily tonight and we’ll see how he is and what the handicapper does before we decide if he’ll go to Galway— he could go back over hurdles.”
Smullen was denied a double when his mount The Last Marju, trained by Johnny Murtagh, failed by a half-length to peg back The Compeller, who, blinkered for the first time, made all under Shane Foley to land the Follow @thetote.com On Twitter Handicap.
Ken Condon’s charge enjoyed a clear lead early and, when pressed from the two-furlong pole, kept finding more.
“He’s a grand horse and handled the ground well. He wasn’t doing a tap in front,” Foley said.
The market-leaders fought out the finish to the Bet Online At thetote,com Maiden, victory going to the David Wachman-trained Swordfight who edged past front-running Aared soon after the furlong-pole and did enough to hold his rival by a neck, with the pair finishing 24 lengths clear of the third.
Winning rider Wayne Lordan said: “The two horses with form fought it out. My horse battled and tried hard and was probably entitled to win a maiden. But better ground would definitely help him.”
Harry Rogers saddled two in the opening claimer and, after 15-year-old Fit The Cove made the running, 23-race maiden Zero Euro (Gary Halpin) came through to beat Wide World, with her veteran stable-companion in third spot.
“She wants that ground, soft or heavy,” stated a relieved Rogers.
“The other lad probably set it up for her.”
The progeny of Jeremy are renowned for their ability to thrive in soft ground, and Jeremys Joy, trained in County Donegal by Charlie Moore and wearing a hood for the first time, revelled in the heavy conditions when sprinting clear to slam Torthai An Ghra by five lengths in the Tote Super Pick 6 Handicap.
“We’ve been waiting for soft ground — she likes a good cut,” Moore said.
“And we’re all set for Galway now —she’ll run in a 50-70 handicap over a mile and 100 yards (on the Friday of the Festival).”
Jason Conneely, 21, from Ballybane in Galway, registered his first success in the saddle when Uncharted Waters, trained by his boss of two years John Murphy, captured the Daily Tips On thetote.com Apprentice Handicap, beating Byron Beauty by a length and a quarter.
And, on a night which produced its share of shocks, 20/1 shot Akiliyna, an in-foal daughter of Westerner, won the finale the Tote Best Value For The Galway Festival Maiden in the hands of Colm O’Donoghue.
The victory was a tonic for trainer Shane Duffy, who is currently sick.