/ Racing

Foildubh claims Fairyhouse feature

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 19:34 | Comments

John Ryan's stable star Foildubh was sent off the 7-4 second favourite
John Ryan's stable star Foildubh was sent off the 7-4 second favourite

Foildubh gained a long overdue big-race success in the Grade Two Normans Grove Chase, the feature event on the final day of the Easter meeting at Fairyhouse.

John Ryan's stable star, sent off the 7-4 second favourite, had been without a win since scoring at Tipperary in October but had run several good races in defeat in the interim.

Henry De Bromhead's Days Hotel was the odds-on favourite and all appeared to be going to plan as he took over at the head of affairs from Bob Lingo with half a mile to run.

But in typical Paul Carberry style, he stalked his prey before pouncing and a good leap at the last sealed the deal, with a length and three-quarters the official winning margin.

"He never got that ground before in those good races. He seems to find another gear on it." - John Ryan

Foildubh had finished second in the Dan Moore Chase at this meeting last year behind Bob Lingo and the two races effectively swapped positions on the calendar this season.

The win provided a boost to the Grand National claims of Chicago Grey, who beat Foildubh last time out.

"He is a fair horse on good ground and Paul said he won on the bridle," said Ryan.

"He never got that ground before in those good races. He seems to find another gear on it.

"He is in again at Navan on Saturday but he will hardly go there. He will probably go for the Grade One at Punchestown now (Boylesports.com Champion Chase).

"I'm delighted that Paul was on him as he has been riding for me for a long time."

Nadiya De La Vega (7-2 favourite) made the trip over from Nicky Henderson's Lambourn base worthwhile by making nearly all the running in the John & Chich Fowler Memorial European Breeders Fund Mares Chase.

Pulled up in the JLT Specialty Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, this was her first run against her own sex since joining Henderson from France.

A big leap at the last made sure of the Grade Three prize for Tony McCoy, with Avondhu Lady five and a half lengths away in second.

There was to be no fairytale ending to the career of Banjaxed Girl, now in the care of Lorna Fowler. The race is run in memory of her in-laws but Banjaxed Girl could only finish fifth.

Frank Berry, racing manager to winning owner JP McManus, said: "It's a lovely race to win and she jumped great.

"She likes a bit of room and doesn't want to be crowded. Tony got some great jumps out of her.

"Nicky was disappointed not to be here as he has been great friends of the Fowlers over the years.

"We will see what is in Punchestown for her now."

Jessica Harrington's One Fine Day relished the better ground a sprang a 16-1 surprise in the Weatherbys Ireland GSB 4yo Hurdle.

"It's the ground, it's as simple as that," said Harrington.

"She ran a blinder on her first start over hurdles at Christmas when the ground was half decent.

"Last time out her jumping was appalling, she just couldn't get out of the ground.

"We'll take on the best of them now at Punchestown where she will go for the Grade One (AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle on 27 April) ."

Dessie Hughes and Bryan Cooper have enjoyed plenty of success this season and they were celebrating again after Captain Arceus (12-1) just prevailed in a driving finish to the www.thetote.com Handicap Hurdle.

"That was a good performance for only his second start in a handicap," said Hughes.

"He will go for the good two and a half mile handicap at Punchestown now and I've always said he wants two and a half miles.

"The better the ground the better he is. He'll go over fences next season and he is one to look forward too."

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