Thari triumphs in bizarre circumstances

CHAMPION jockey Paul Carberry experienced the highs and lows of his precarious profession at Fairyhouse yesterday, taking the riding honours with a double before being stood down, badly bruised, following a fall.

Carberry was gifted the three runner Powers Gold Cup when long odds-on favourite Adamant Approach, apparently in command, crashed out of the race at the second last fence, hampering his stable companion One Night Out.

This bizarre incident presented Carberry on Thari with a straight forward task and, having looked destined for third place, he stayed on to claim the handsome winner's prize of 55,644.

Thari was returning to winning form after a succession of disappointing runs as his trainer Noel Meade explained: "He started well over fences but then lost his way. We gave him a little break and he appreciates good ground so he will probably run again at Punchestown next week."

"Beforehand, somebody asked me leaving the parade ring what I thought might happen and I just said I would prefer to be backing my fellow at 6-1 rather than taking the price about Adamant Approach." "They are only novices and the fences are there to be jumped that's why we took our chance and I hope this win, lucky as it was, will be a tonic for Thari's owner Des Sharkey who is in hospital in Dublin at the moment," the champion trainer added.

Ruby Walsh, disgusted by the fall of Adamant Approach explained: "He was travelling very well and had loads in the tank.

"I was happy that I had Paul and Shay beaten. But he seemed to slip, lost his hind legs and landed on top of the fence."

Carberry completed his double when Swordplay, owned by Sean Mulryan and trained by Michael O'Brien scored a convincing win in the Boylesports Hurdle.

Very free in the early stages, Swordplay was sent into the lead by Carberry at halfway and, jumping superbly, never looked in danger.

Denis Cullen, assistant trainer and son-in-law of O'Brien, confirmed that this fast ground specialist will now be aimed at the Guinness Galway hurdle in mid summer.

"Swordplay jumps great and this fast ground suits him ideally. He can get hyped up before his races, but we kept him cool in the stable yard by giving him a shampoo and that has worked out for us," said trainer Michael O'Brien's son-in-law and assistant Denis Cullen.

While Galway is the long-term plan for Swordplay, in the meantime the Kris gelding could turn out again at next week's Punchestown Festival where his owner Sean Mulryan is one of the principal sponsors.

Later, Co Wexford trainer, Paul Nolan, who won that big Galway handicap with Say Again last year, recorded another big handicap success when High Prospect, running in only his second handicap, triumphed in the final of the Powers Gold Label series.

High Prospect, carrying a 10lbs penalty for a recent win at Thurles, started 5/1 favourite and, always in the leading group stayed on strongly for Normal Williamson to deny Junior Fontaine close home with The Dark Flasher in third place.

Winning trainer Nolan admitted that the prospect of good ground at Galway could prove enticing but he warned: "He's a lovely big horse and I don't intend running him again on ground as fast as this. He should make a lovely chaser in time."

Paul Carberry's immediate predecessors as champion jockey Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty were also on the mark, Walsh starting the day on a high when the well backed Warrens Castle scored an impressive win in the Weatherbys Ireland Maiden Hurdle.

Clearly appreciating the changed ground conditions, Warrens Castle, trained by Willie Mullins for John Brennan, quickened past long time leader Jaquoille approaching the final flight before forging clear.

Geraghty had his turn when Native Commander, trained by Steve Mahon, proved a clear cut winner of the County Club Dunshaughlin Handicap Chase.

Co. Cork trainer Thomas O'Leary saddled debutante Newmill to capture the Goffs Landrover Bumper in great style. Aidan Fitzgerald seized the initiative turning into the straight and this highly promising son of Norwich, which cost 24,000, powered clear in the style of a gelding with a big future.

Polaris Flame, winner of the race two years ago and runner up last year, recorded a popular success for trainer Denise Foster when capturing the Joseph O'Reilly Memorial Cup Hunters Chase.

The ten year old mare wrote her own piece of Irish history as she became the first horse to win in this country wearing 'cheek-pieces'.

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