Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 21 January 2018

Leopardstown an option for Alaivan after Naas success

O'Grady: pleased with Alaivan victory
O'Grady: pleased with Alaivan victory

Thomas Kelly

EDWARD O'Grady and Andrew McNamara enjoyed a repeat success in the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas yesterday as Alaivan made a winning return to action in the day's feature.

Last year, the trainer-jockey combination teamed up to land the Listed prize with Torphichen for owner Thomas Barr and the same colours were carried to victory once more by the 8/11 favourite.

Having its first run since running badly in France in May, Alaivan had only Son Amix for company in the home straight and he was always doing enough to keep Tom Cooper's inmate at bay by three lengths.

"It's not easy to place these four-year-olds," O'Grady said afterwards. "He is a nice horse, but I don't really know where he'll go next. The good two-miler at Leopardstown (December Festival Hurdle) is the only race for him at Christmas. Anyway, I'm pleased he's won here."

O'Grady and McNamara had earlier suffered a reverse when 11/10 favourite Osana had to play second fiddle to the impressive Psycho in the Become A Naas Annual Member Chase.

Osana cut out much of the running but was being ridden along on the turn for home, while Psycho and Davy Russell loomed up menacingly.

Brought over to the stand-side rail, Tony Martin's 2/1 chance quickly had the race in safe keeping and only had to be kept up to his work at the finish to secure a four-and-a-half-length verdict.


"He's done it well and deserved that," said Martin. "He jumped well, particularly at those fences before the straight, and that really kept him in the race.

"Davy still had a bit of horse at the finish. He has plenty of options at Christmas and we'll decide in a few weeks as to where he'll run.

"He is in the Lexus and if it is cut up into a small field that could be an option. He's also in the Dial-A-Bet over two miles."

Noel Meade and Davy Condon were in double-winning form as they combined to land the maiden hurdle with Medical Card and then followed up with a hard-earned success for Loup Du Saubouas in the beginners chase.

Nina Carberry shone in the bumper aboard the Dessie Hughes-trained Sugar Bullet, while JP McManus' famous colours were carried to victory by Eddie Harty's Carrigmartin in the novices handicap chase.

Across the water, Tony McCoy landed a Wetherby treble -- highlighted by the impressive hurdling debut of the Steve Gollings-trained Local Hero. McCoy always appeared to have matters in hand aboard the 4/6 favourite and Local Hero eased clear of Dhaafer by six lengths.

"It didn't look a strong race on paper and we'd have been disappointed if he hadn't won, but Tony said that he really liked him a lot," said Gollings. "He asked us if we wanted to sell him, so I think that's a good sign. We'll keep it low-key for the time being."

Local Hero's success was the middle leg of McCoy's 9/1 hat-trick. The champion jockey firstly guided the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Palace Jester (11/4) to a ready win in the novices' hurdle. McCoy then struck on 8/15 favourite Aberdale for the same trainer as the pair took the novices chase by just under four lengths.

Irish Independent

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