On The Fringe excels under polished Carberry steer
On a thrilling Aintree card that saw the raiders depart with four winners, Nina Carberry guided On The Fringe to an emphatic triumph in the Foxhunters Chase.
Three days after Katie Walsh emulated her by winning the Irish Grand National and two days before she will bid to secure an unprecedented win for a female jockey in the real thing on Mouse Morris' First Lieutenant, Carberry's feat on Enda Bolger's 10-year-old means that she joins her father Tommy and brother Paul in having conquered the Grand National fences.
The brilliant 30-year-old avoided early drama that saw last year's winner Warne exit at the first fence along with two others. In truth, there was never a moment when On The Fringe, a well-backed 5/2 favourite, didn't look like he would replicate Elegant Lord's similarly resounding 1999 win for Bolger and JP McManus.
Carberry produced him to lead at the last fence, before finally giving him a kick in the belly at the elbow to become the first horse since Double Silk in 1993 to complete the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters double.
"I was just a passenger, he was loving it," an elated Carberry said. "It's a great training performance to get him back here in the same type of form and he travelled like a dream."
Bolger added: "I'm pleased another Carberry has won over these fences. She just had a plan in her head to sit fifth or sixth and keep out of trouble. It doesn't always work out like that, but it did today."
Later, Paul Carberry was at his daring best in getting Taglietelle (7/1) to thwart Call The Cops by a head, completing a 47/1 double for Gordon Elliott, whose Clarcam (5/1) bounced back to form with a decisive Grade One novices' chase win under Ruby Walsh. After that, Walsh's luck deteriorated.
Starchitect buried him at the last in the juveniles' hurdle that went to All Yours (16/1), setting up a big-race brace for Paul Nicholls, whose Silviniaco Conti (7/4 fav) clung on to retain his Bowl crown following an excellent front-running ride by Noel Fehily.
Then Willie Mullins' Arctic Fire did the same to Walsh in dramatic style when he was shading the argument with Jezki in the Aintree Hurdle. Walsh was stood down for the rest of the day but he and Arctic Fire were relatively unscathed, as Jessica Harrington's 2014 champion took full advantage to finally get off the mark for the season.
As part of his long goodbye, AP McCoy had graced the winners' enclosure on farewell visits to Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Fairyhouse, so this seems to be simply part of his brief.
"Whether I'd have won or not I don't know," he admitted afterwards of McManus' 3/1 shot, "but I was in a position to make a race of it. I'm going to miss horses like him - it's nice he and I have finished on a winning note."
Meanwhile, Mullins' Un De Sceaux will not run tomorrow due to the drying ground. Mullins will rely on Ballycasey in the Grand National, with Jim Culloty's Lord Windermere topping the final 40 declarations.
Culloty's Spring Heeled and Elliott's Cause Of Causes are also among eight Irish-trained contenders.