Mikey wins at home
Fogarty bounces back 24 hours later
Jockey Mikey Fogarty from Cleariestown saw the two sides of the racing world within 24 hours last week.
He was pipped by a nose in the elite champion bumper at glamorous Cheltenham on Wednesday evening, and just over 20 hours later he lined out in the first race of the St. Patrick's Day meeting in the more humble surrounds of Bettyville, Wexford, and steered home the winner.
He got the leg up on Alterno, a former unraced inmate of the Jim Bolger flat yard, still owned by Jim's wife, Jackie, and trained by Dessie McDonagh.
The 9/4 second favourite made it a winning racecourse debut, travelling and staying on well in the Wexford Racecourse Supporters' Club Maiden Hurdle for four-year-olds. Second was 10/1 shot, Tagg's Island.
Fogarty made a bold bid for a double on Paul Nolan's outsider, Rooster Byron (14/1), in the St. Patrick's Day Novice Handicap Hurdle but he was headed coming to the last by Head Turner (9/2), ridden by Alan Crowe for Pat Fahy, with Massini's Brook third under Barry Cash.
These were the only local success stories on the opening meeting of the new season at Wexford which was blessed by lovely weather and a reasonably good attendance considering all the many counter-attractions, but few favourites obliged for the hard-pressed punters.
The feature event was the €25,000 Stud sponsored Veterans' Handicap Chase, and this was a victory for eleven-year-old Canaly, ridden by Roger Loughran for trainer Sandra Hughes.
The 8/1 outsider stayed on stoutly to gain his first win for nearly three years and pick up a handsome cheque for €15,000 plus.
Second was Followmeuptocarlow (5/1), ridden by Rachael Blackmore, just one and a half lengths back, and third was 14-years-old Blazing Beacon, ridden by Conor Maxwell.
The multi-millionaire J.P. McManus undoubtedly had his main focus on affairs at Cheltenham but he did pick up a nice prize in Wexford, the €16,500 Michael O Murchadha Memorial Rated Hurdle, a race in memory of one of the Bettyville founders and father of current managing director, Michael Murphy.
Jodie McGarvey won it on Getoutwhenyoucan (7/1), trained by Augustine Leahy, from the Edward O'Grady-trained Prickly, ridden by Stephen Gray, and the disappointing 7/4 favourite, Champagne James, ridden by Shane Shortall for trainer and T.V. pundit, Ted Walsh.
Christy Lynch from Wexford town served for many years with the order of Malta Ambulance Corps, including doing duty at Bettyville, before his untimely death a couple of years ago, and a Novice Handicap Chase was staged in his memory for a purse of €16,500.
It was won by 7/2 second favourite, Westerner Point, under Philip Enright for trainer Edward O'Grady, from Glenwood For Ever (10/1), ridden by Rachael Blackmore for Paul John Gilligan, and third was the 9/4 favourite, Westerners Son, under Conor Maxwell.
The Join the Wexford Racecourse Supporters' Club Today maiden hurdle was won by joint favourite, Next Bend, under Mark Flanagan for Tom Gibney, with Jonathan Moore from Adamstown well back in second on First Post for Adrian McGuinness.
A Wexford winner did seem on the cards in the concluding Wexford Pro/Am INH flat race, with Liam Kenny's (Craanford) gelding A Rated made the 4/6 on favourite, but he faded tamely enough out of contention under Harley Dunne (The Ballagh).
The winner was Fire In His Eyes (8/1) under L.J. McGuinness for the powerful team of Gigginstown House and trainer Tony Martin, from Hold On To Your Hat (20/1) for trainer Oliver McKieran, and Justmemyselfandi, trained by Liz Doyle and ridden by Roy Tector.
The next meeting at Bettyville is on Friday evening, April 8.