Bowe's Flyer storms Cheltenham
The new National Hunt season has barely exhaled its first breaths, and already Wexford racing fans are dreaming of Cheltenham glory come Festival time next March.
From the county that has seen the likes of Brave Inca, Solwhit, Big Zeb, Holywell and Noble Prince, among others, swoop to victory in the bosom of the Cotswolds in recent years, Kiltealy handler Colin Bowe was beaming after Shantou Flyer landed the spoils at Cheltenham on Friday last.
The five-year-old was fortunate not to crash out in the three-mile novices' chase when the jolly 'Vintage Vinnie' took a bow three-out. Shantou Flyer then smashed through the second-last fence, and had it all to do when jumping the last four lengths down.
Ridden by Mark Walsh, he sailed over the final fence, and, as with all who succeed at Cheltenham, he dug deep and found more coming up the hill. He eventually won by a length-and-a-half.
It was Bowe's first victory in England, and he and Walsh's first win at the famous venue. Shantou Flyer is available at 20/1 for the return trip in March.
Bowe said afterwards: "I think this is my third runner at Cheltenham, so it's great to get a winner.
'I didn't think he was going to win when he was nearly brought down by the horse that fell and then he missed the second last, but he's gone and done it well in the end.
'He's only a five-year-old and is still learning his trade. We could maybe bring him back here for the four-miler.'
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the coming week: Dundalk, Wednesday October 28 (first race 6.05pm); Clonmel, Thursday October 29 (first race 1.25pm); Dundalk, Friday October 30 (first race 6.00pm); Down Royal, Friday October 30 (first race 1.00pm); Down Royal, Saturday October 31 (first race 12.35pm); Cork, Sunday November 1 (first race 1.20pm) and Naas, Sunday November 1 (first race 1.05pm).