CORK senior football team manager Conor Counihan enjoyed a Leopardstown winner last Saturday with the heavily supported 25/1 to 9/1 chance Farrell's Fancy, in the richly endowed and valuable Grade A Leopardstown Chase of €75,000 over 2ml 5f.
Owned by the Ber Bua Syndicate, of which Counihan is a member, the Aghada GAA club man exclaimed in the winners enclosure afterwards that "this is every bit as good as winning an All-Ireland."
Farrell's Fancy gave twenty-year old 5lb claiming jockey Mark Enright, from Newcastlewest, the biggest win of his blossoming racing career, as well as landing trainer Terence O'Brien, from Carrigtwohill, with his biggest career win to date.
Enright had the winner right in contention from the outset in second. Jumping well he was taken to the front three out, but was being strongly challenged by Sweet My Lord at the last, when that one departed the scene, but a new danger emerged in Sweeney Tunes, which produced a strong challenge, but Enright got down into the drive postion, and in a really brilliant drive stayed on powerfully to just hold the runner up by a head in a thrilling finish.
Despite the massive gamble on the winner, the trainers comments were quite interesting to say the least as he explained: ''I was going to take him out this morning because of the terrible ground conditions but the syndicate were anxious to run. We had this race in mind for him for a long time, but I did not fancy him on the ground. If it had been good ground I would have really fancied him. He was keen during the race but just got home. We will probably go for a novice handicap chase at Cheltenham with him now."
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, in the opening 2ml maiden hurdle, Lisgoold jockey Paul Townend was victorious on the hugely impressive 8/15 chance Fatcatinthehat, which romped home by 8 lengths from Ibsen, while later in the afternoon Paul's cousin Davy Condon, from Mallow, won the 2ml4f maiden hurdle, on 11/2 chance Mala Beach, which triumphed by 4 lengths from Foxrock for Trim trainer Gordon Elliott.
The postponed Carrigtwohill point-to-point races have been refixed for Saturday, while Tallow point-to-point takes place on Sunday.