Christmas cheer for Wexford trainers
The Christmas racing festivals provided plenty to celebrate for a number of Wexford's trainers and jockeys.
Crossabeg trainer Liz Doyle has always thought the world of Le Vent D'Antan and it was easy to see why at Leopardstown on Sunday as he landed the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Chase in fine style under Davy Russell.
Backed from 3-1 into 7-4 favourite before the off, Le Vent D'Antan jumped for fun in the hands of Russell and powered to an eight-length victory over Balbir Du Mathan.
Watch the exciting Wexford horse's next move with interest - this could be something special.
Jockey Andrew McNamara scored on the Colin Bowe trained Don Vincenzo (10/1) in the Parkway Shopping Centre Maiden Hurdle in Limerick, also on Sunday.
McNamara said afterwards that Don Vincenzo "jumped brilliant throughout the race and that's what won it for him. I left him along going to the last and while he didn't make a mistake, lost his hind legs on landing. He struggled to get going for a bit but then pulled out more."
Short-priced favourite Fine Article took the top honour in the two mile six maiden hurdle at Limerick onnSaturday for Paul Nolan and the in-form rider, Mikey Fogarty.
Sent off at 1/5 he travelled strongly to hit the lead before the second last. Despite an untidy jump at that obstacle, he quickened away before the last and had two-and-a-half-lengths in hand over staying on The Horsechesnut (8/1).
Nolan told irishracing.com, "That was nice, but it is what it is. I was disappointed with his first two runs over hurdles. He just doesn't look a natural hurdler, but he jumped immaculately today albeit a bit sloppy over the last two.
"We'll run him again in a Grade 2 or Grade 3 and see what happens. Going that bit slower helped him pop them. All of his family are soft-ground horses.
"He should reach a higher standard over fences. He'll go chasing next season."
Fogarty also scored at Leopardstown on Stephen's Day when there was a major upset in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle as hot favourite Kalkir was put in his place by 33-1 shot Fiscal Focus.
Kalkir was unsurprisingly a warm order, having made a smooth start to his jumping career in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month.
The Mullins runner moved well for much of the journey, but Fiscal Focus was travelling even better rounding the home turn under Fogarty and 4-7 favourite Kalkir was unable to make an impression.
Also, Jamie Codd won the Stephen's Day Flat race at the south Dublin-track on 13/2 shot Space Cadet for hotshot trainer Gordon Elliot.