Fists Of Fury justifies Byrnes raid
TONY McCOY punched Fists Of Fury to a convincing triumph in the three-mile beginners' chase at Wetherby yesterday to ensure that Charles Byrnes' midweek foray to the north of England track wasn't in vain.
Sporting the Gigginstown House Stud silks, McCoy was always in control of the race as Fists Of Fury ground out a deserved victory to justify even- money favouritism.
A brother to the 2009 RSA Chase hero Cooldine, the seven-year-old lined out on the back of a placed effort behind last Sunday's graded winner Last Instalment, which also represents Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown operation.
McCoy, who went to complete a double on School For Scandal, had to settle for second place on recent Thurles winner Sea Of Thunder in the novice hurdle as the fancied Hazy Tom cruised to a 12-length victory.
Byrnes said that the Ryanair supremo's extraordinary strength in depth was behind the decision to travel.
"Gigginstown have so many top chasers in Ireland, Michael wouldn't let me run this fella there," he quipped of Fists Of Fury.
"But I still think he is a fair horse. He'll stay further than this. The ground at home is heavy and will be for some time and he doesn't really like it."
O'Leary's maroon and white colours were also in the winner's enclosure at Cork when Davy Russell steered the handsome Ballysteen to a comfortable success in the maiden hurdle.
Equally impressive in a bumper there on his reappearance, the five-year-old's task was eased when joint-favourite Local Celebrity got carried out as Top Flower dived through the rail at the first hurdle.
New Phase upset smart chasers Psycho and Kempes over the smaller obstacles to complete back-to-back victories in the Follow Us On Facebook Hurdle.
Dermot Weld's runner, ridden by Robbie McNamara, came through to lead before the final two flights and went on to score in good style.
Kempes, last season's Leopardstown Hennessy winner, took it up at the third-last, but had nothing more to give when headed and had to settle for third place.
Psycho rallied to claim second, two and a quarter lengths behind the 7/2 winner.
Willie Mullins gained quick compensation for Kempes' defeat when saddling the first two home in the www.corkracecourse.ie Handicap Hurdle.
And it was Sweet My Lord, ridden by stable jockey Ruby Walsh, which landed the spoils from Pozyc, ridden by Paul Townend. There was little between the pair jumping the last, but Walsh galvanised the 3/1 favourite to score by a length and three-quarters.