Nina keeps up family tradition with brilliant National victory
Local girl Nina Carberry confirmed her status as racing's leading lady by steering Organisedconfusion, which is trained by her uncle Arthur Moore, to a resounding victory in yesterday's Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
In a walk of life dominated by men, it tells you much about the rider who won one of the most exacting steeplechases of the year that her gender only became obvious once she had pulled up -- when congratulated by her rivals with hugs and kisses, rather than handshakes.
Carberry's triumph reiterated her status as the woman who has come closest to achieving authentic equality with male jump jockeys.
For some years already no sensible trainer, or punter, will have considered a horse's chance remotely diluted by relying on her against even the best of the men.
Carberry and Moore, who were continuing their respective families' rich tradition in the prestigious €250,000 chase, returned to a rapturous reception in the winner's enclosure following Organisedconfusion's triumph.
Escorted by a loose horse on the run-in, the winning combination saw off Western Charmer by five lengths, with the well-supported British raider Sunnyhillboy another length away in third.
The latter JP McManus-owned horse had been heavily backed into 6/1 favouritism, but nothing could live with the 12/1 victor once Carberry gave him an inch of rein after landing over the second-last fence.
A native of Ratoath, the former champion amateur is just the second female rider to taste Irish Grand National glory following Ann Ferris' 1984 triumph on Bentom Boy. She is also the first amateur to land the prize since Ferris.
Following the biggest success of an already distinguished career, Carberry spoke with typical modesty. "The Irish National is one of the best races to win," she beamed, "and it was great to get the opportunity to win it.
"Arthur didn't have to put me up. I'm only an amateur, so I'm just delighted he had faith in me."
The three-mile-five-furlong showpiece has been a source of great joy for the Carberry and Moore clans.
Nina's father, Tommy, rode Brown Lad to back-to-back wins in 1975 and 1976, before then training Bobbyjo to record another hugely popular win under son Paul in 1998. Eight years later, Nina's brother Philip scored on Point Barrow for Pat Hughes.
Moore's National legacy is equally prolific. His father, Dan, also enjoyed wins as both a trainer and a jockey, a feat that he emulated when Feathered Gale obliged under Franny Woods in 1996. That win came 25 years after Moore, who is married to Tommy Carberry's sister Pamela, partnered King's Sprite to glory.
The Co Kildare trainer, who had to borrow a spectator's trilby to carry out his customary big-race celebration of placing the hat on the winning horse's head, having forgotten his own, was saddling just his sixth domestic winner of a largely disappointing campaign.
However, he did also send out What A Charm to record a surprise win at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and his relief at landing such a landmark triumph was palpable yesterday.
"It has been tough," he said as he struggled to keep his emotion in check, "but the staff have been brilliant. We haven't had the best of runs but they have worked hard through the winter and there were no complaints. Now they've reaped their reward today."
Organisedconfusion raced keenly just off a strong pace that was set by Deal Done, fencing fluently for his 26-year-old rider throughout.
Once a tired Deal Done cried enough up the straight, Carberry seized the initiative approaching the last and never looked like being caught as Organisedconfusion strode clear to defy his trainer's concerns over the marathon trip.
Moore, who co-bred Organisedconfusion with owners Alan and Grace Dunlop, revealed that future plans for the winner are fluid.
As a six-year-old, the Laveron gelding is the youngest to land the €141,000 pot since Rhyme 'N' Reason in 1986, and despite being quoted at 25/1 by Stan James for the Aintree Grand National next April, Moore feels that contest -- which Rhyme 'N' Reason went on to win in 1988 -- will not be on the agenda just yet.
"Today was the plan," he revealed, "so he'll go to grass now. He's too young for the English National next year, but it will have to be on the agenda up the road. We'll give him a good break, maybe come back here this time next year, but he's going to be hard to place now."
The 140th running of the most valuable contest in the domestic jumping calendar was run in glorious sunshine in front of a 15,196-strong attendance, up 16pc on last year's figure. Given the warmth of the welcome that was bestowed on Carberry, in particular, a large portion of that number hadn't travelled far.
"It's just brilliant to be part of it all," the elated jockey admitted afterwards.