Punters greet outsider's win with stunned silence
IT WAS a pure picture of a man kicking himself.
Toss Fitzsimons held his head in his hands exclaiming: "And I didn't even have a few bob on him."
Minutes before, the winning horse in the Guinness Kerry National Handicap Steeplechase -- part-owned by his brother Michael -- had romped home.
To make matters worse, his brother had backed him at odds of 50 to one.
Michael Fitzsimons, from Foynes in Co Limerick, was part of the syndicate that owned Faltering Fullback, the complete outsider that won the main event at Listowel Races yesterday.
The horse is called after a pub in London owned by Mr Fitzsimons, who is a former barman at the House of Commons.
He is now part of the CCK Syndicate that also includes Sean Curran and Brid Cooley.
The horse was on the reserve list and was only given the nod that he was to run hours beforehand.
And there was nothing faltering about his performance yesterday, even though his trainer, Eric McNamara from Rathkeale, hadn't fancied his chances either.
"I fancied Questions Answered more," revealed the trainer of the race's second-placed horse, which he had also trained.
It was a first win at the Kerry National Handicap with a prize fund of €160,000 for the horse's rider, Danny Mullins (20), nephew of well-known trainer Willie Mullins.
It was the race that attracted all the big names but the lack of cheering from the stands as the winner crossed the line spoke volumes as to how the punters felt about the surprise win.
"The sticky ground suited him," commented one man in disgust, discarding his betting slip. Meanwhile, newlyweds Daithi and Rita O Se enjoyed the day at the races -- a relaxing break before the TV presenter starts his new job later in the autumn on RTE's new afternoon show.
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