Tuesday 18 December 2018

Fitzhenry delivers

Battling success for trainer Nolan

Wexford trainer Paul Nolan
Wexford trainer Paul Nolan

Weekly news by Pegasus

At home in Ireland we had to wait until Sunday for the biggest Wexford win of the week, with Paul Nolan's consistent Fitzhenry (11/4) scoring at Naas in the €50,000 Whatoddspaddy? Novice handicap chase for J.P. McManus under Barry Geraghty.

He overcame being hindered at the last to get back up by a neck from Last Encounter (8/1) for Mags Mullins.

'It's great. He's a little unlucky not to have won his last four in a row, he was on the wrong side of the photo finishes,' Nolan said.

'He got hindered at the last again and I thought he wasn't going to get back up again, but in fairness to Barry he galvanised him. It's great that he's won a decent pot.'

There was a Wexford double at Clonmel on Tuesday. Jonathan Moore had a welcome eleventh winner of the season in the mares' maiden hurdle on Countess Cathleen (11/4), trained at the famous Garryrichard Stud, Foulksmills, by Denis Hickey.

It was a good ride with Moore being headed at the last but rallying well on the run-in to get back by half a length. It was a red letter day for Hickey as this was only his second track win since the 2010-'11 season.

J.J. Slevin kept up his good run with a runaway win on Freeway Space (3/1) for David O'Brien from Piltown in the Beginners' Chase. Slevin is on 29 winners for the season and has already exceeded his previous best of 25 last term.

At Thurles on Thursday, Barry O'Neill, champion point-to-point rider, did best of the locals with second place on Colm Bowe's Western Victory (9/4) in the mares' bumper, behind Patrick Mullins on Denis Hogan's Moskovite (2/1).

Jamie Codd kept the Wexford flag flying at Fairyhouse on Saturday, winning like a hot favourite should on Jim Dreaper's Sizing Coal (2/5) in the Potts colours in the Hunters' Chase.

This one, however, is not going to Cheltenham but will aim at the Fairyhouse National meeting and the Punchestown Festival.

Seán Flanagan had a blank week, his best effort being a second in the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday with Gigginstown's A Genie In A Bottle (11/4) for Noel Meade, behind a very impressive returning Bellshill (8/13) for Willie Mullins.

While Flanagan is having his best season for a long time, the flow of winners has slowed since Christmas, with Meade's string seeming to have lost their edge somewhat. This is not a new phenomenon - Meade is a top-rate trainer but over the years he has invariably done better in the first half of the season.

The countdown to Cheltenham is really hotting up now and last weekend's meetings provided a last chance for many to stake a claim for participation. Daryl Jacob had quite a good day at Kempton.

He was on Global Citzen (5/1) for the Ben Pauling stable in the £30,000 Grade 2 Dovecote Novices Hurdle, and this was the most impressive winner of the day. Global Citizen has several Cheltenham options.

Jacob looked like making it a quick double with totally different waiting tactics in the £100,000 Betdaq Handicap Chase. He had the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Ballykan (14/1) out the back before making smooth progress to lead at the last.

However, Barry Geraghty used similar tactics on Master Dee (8/1) for Feargal O'Brien and he collared Ballykan on the run-in.

Jacob had his only other winner of a quiet week on Friday at Warwick when he scored on Indian Hawk (7/4f) for Nicky Henderson.

Tom O'Brien was also in action at Kempton and had a couple of thirds to show for his day's work, and he had a second at Southwell on Sunday on Hirjan (8/1) for Henry Oliver.

Pat Dobbs from Taghmon kept up his winning run in the UAE with victory at Jebal Ali on Friday aboard Tale of Fire (8/1) for his regular trainer, Doug Watson, having drawn a blank the previous day at Meydan.

Wexford People