O'Gara run off his feet by retired race star
IT was dubbed as an epic 'Man Versus Horse' race but footballer Eoghan O'Gara proved no match for Brave Inca at Leopardstown yesterday.
The setting was the second day of the Christmas racing festival when, in a fun event that took place among the fixtures, the Dublin GAA star raced the retired champion hurdler on the flat for charity.
However, despite a 40-yard advantage it was a case of beast triumphing over man as Brave Inca's class saw him race ahead to take an easy victory.
"I never thought I'd be racing a horse. I knew it was over when I heard the horse breathing as it overtook me," Eoghan said afterwards.
Brave Inca jockey, Ratoath-born Barry Geraghty, couldn't resist describing the win as "Meath's second victory over Dublin this year".
The fun race, in aid of Tracey Piggott's charity Playing for Life, which works with deprived communities in Africa, was the 31-year-old's fourth win of the day.
Earlier he had completed a treble, winning the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase with Big Zeb, the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle on Our Girl Salley and later steering The Shepherd to win the Handicap Hurdle for trainer Gordon Elliott.
"It's great to ride one winner, let alone three, but even better at Leopardstown, which is one of my favourite festivals," he said.
Also at Leopardstown yesterday was RTE racing presenter Colm Murray, who spoke movingly on a recent 'Late Late Show' about how he was coping with motor neurone disease. "I've had so many race-goers wishing me well. Everyone wants me to keep going ," he said. And that's exactly what the 58-year-old has been doing.
Now using crutches, he said: "I'm finding it a battle to get around but we'll see how we go."
This week he has been presenting a radio series for RTE, 'Colm Murray At Christmas', the last of which, an interview with soccer manager Sir Alex Ferguson, airs tonight on RTE Radio 1 at 10pm.
Other famous faces in the crowd included European silver medallist, Derval O'Rourke, Westlife's Nicky Byrne with father-in-law Bertie Ahern, and rugby pundit Brent Pope.
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