Monday 26 September 2016

British trainer Kerry Lee claims her second big race success at Fairyhouse Easter festival

Published 29/03/2016 | 16:36

Top Gamble, with Richard Johnson up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Normans Grove Steeplechase. Horse Racing - Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Fairyhouse, Co. Meath. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Top Gamble, with Richard Johnson up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Normans Grove Steeplechase. Horse Racing - Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Fairyhouse, Co. Meath. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE

Kerry Lee claimed her second victory of the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse as Top Gamble ran out a comprehensive winner of the Normans Grove Chase.

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The Herefordshire handler has enjoyed a marvellous first season after taking over the licence from father, Richard, and tasted Grade One glory for the first time when Kylemore Lough clinched Sunday's Ryanair Gold Cup in County Meath.

Like his stable companion, Top Gamble made the journey from Britain with excellent claims for his Grade Two assignment, having beaten last year's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Dodging Bullets in the Game Spirit at Newbury last month.

The 5-4 favourite was partnered by British champion jockey-elect Richard Johnson and quickened up well in the straight and safely negotiated the remaining obstacle to seal a seven-length success.

Sizing Granite fared better than when pulling up in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham a fortnight ago to fill the runner-up spot, but there is room for improvement in the jumping department.

Days Hotel was third, while having cut out much of the running, multiple Grade One winner Flemenstar weakened quickly from the home turn and passed the post fourth.

Johnson said: "The last time I was here was when I rode for my father-in-law Noel Chance in the Irish Grand National five or six years ago.

"It's great to come over, Kerry's horses are running very well and this horse, on his day, is very good. He was good at Newbury.

"We were slightly worried the ground might have dried out too much, but it was a strong gallop and it suited him well.

"He's not the fastest, even though he's a two-miler. He prefers very soft ground.

"Once we jumped three out I felt I had a very good chance then."

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