McNamara goes the extra mile
ANDREW McNamara showed he's willing to clock up the miles to go in search of a winner after riding at both Tramore and Fairyhouse yesterday.
Having finishing third on in the opening race at Tramore (12.0), McNamara did a quick change in the jockeys' weigh-room and headed for the Co Meath track.
Just over 110 miles and nearly three hours later, the Limerick jockey found himself in the Fairyhouse winner's enclosure where he was being praised by John 'Shark' Hanlon after guiding Western Leader (7/2) to victory.
Prominent all the way in the beginners' chase, Hanlon's charge was involved in a three-way battle with favourite Golanbrook and Rupert Lamb up the home straight. However, McNamara held his mount together against the rail for a two-lengths win.
"He's always been a good horse but we had to take our time with him after coming back from his leg (injury) and Andrew gave him a great ride," said Hanlon. "We'll give him time and he could come back here for the festival. It's one day at a time with him but it's a good way to start the new year."
Tim Carroll is a young jockey on an upward curve and he gave Speed Dial a determined drive land the two-mile handicap hurdle for Pat Hughes. The 5/2 favourite had plenty to do after the last as Acriveen edged ahead but Carroll quickened up well to land the spoils by two lengths.
King Of Firth (2/1 favourite) produced a game effort from the front to take the opening maiden hurdle for the mother and son team of Mags and Danny Mullins, while the mares' version went to Jessica Harrington's Annie Oakley in the hands of Robbie Power.
Favourite Wise Oscar ran away with the staying handicap hurdle for Dessie Hughes and Bryan Cooper and there was an across-the-card double for Gordon Elliott as another market leader Tarquinius (5/2) followed up his Leopardstown triumph in the hands of David O'Leary, who was enjoying his first racecourse success.