Fairytale start to festival as 6,400 punters brave cold
Published 01/04/2013 | 05:00
There was a fairytale start to the Fairyhouse Easter Festival for owners Pat and Joan Sloan as their horse Realt Mor charged past the post to claim the Powers Gold Cup.
Fresh from a recent win at Cheltenham where they picked up the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Cup, the Sloans celebrated as jockey Davy Condon guided Realt Mor to victory.
"We thought we had had all our luck for this year, so we're absolutely thrilled, it's fantastic," Mrs Sloan said.
Meanwhile, "superstar in the making" Annie Power was the talking point at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival opener.
Ruby Walsh claimed one of the big money prize pots of €90,000 aboard the Willie Mullins-trained mare to win the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle Championship final.
"She's a very exciting prospect for us now, we're looking forward to Punchestown with her," said Mr Mullins.
A total of 6,400 punters turned up in warm hats, scarves and with betting slips at the ready – up almost a quarter on last year.
Manager Peter Roe told the Irish Independent that organisers at Fairyhouse were happy with the turnout, especially considering their worries last week in the build-up to the Sunday programme.
"This time last week we were looking at a nightmare – we had snow every morning until Thursday, fortunately since then we've had dry days, so thankfully the ground dried out," he said.
There was also plenty of action off the course throughout the afternoon, including the traditional children's Easter bonnet competition.
Judge Roz Purcell was on the look-out for an eye catching hat with a "clever concept behind it" and chose a homemade creation by nine-year-old twins Cian and Chloe Tobin, from Skerries, Co Dublin.
It was a family occasion for model Roz (22). She was joined by her parents, Cecily and John, at the course.
All eyes are now on today's Grand National, with Willie Mullins no doubt hoping he will take home the prize for the first time.
Full report: Sport