Carberry had been sidelined since April 30 (when he rode a treble in Ballinrobe) due to a shoulder injury, for which he underwent surgery in July.
He made the perfect return to action when guiding the long odds-on favourite Ally Cascade to a wide-margin victory in the Premier Jump Weekend Hurdle yesterday before completing a double on Not For Changing.
“It was a long wait, but it’s great to be back,” stated a relieved Carberry, “Nina sold this horse to the lads (Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud), so it’s great to win for her too. Progress with the shoulder was slow but, over the last couple of weeks, I could feel improvement from day to day.”
Ally Cascade had to be shaken up by Carberry before the second last flight and was in command when nearest rival King William blundered and unseated Rob Jones at the last.
Winning trainer Noel Meade said: “Paul has been working hard to get back and it’s great to have him back. I suppose this was an ideal race to come back and everything has worked out well. He has been improving every day over the last fortnight, but took me by surprise yesterday when he rang to say he was riding today — we though he’d be back on Sunday.”
Referring to Ally Cascade, he added: “This is a nice horse. He’s a bit burly, probably 20kg. over his racing weight, because he was held up — he doesn’t like the all-weather gallop and has to work on the grass. I haven’t discussed plans with Michael and Eddie (O’Leary), but it’s possible he’ll switch to fences.”
Another trainer delighted to have Carberry back is Gordon Elliott who explained, after Not For Changing got up late to foil Not For Burning by a neck in the 80-109 handicap hurdle: “Paul has been with me since I started training and I was hoping to have a double for him on his first day back. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with Moonshine Lad. But I’m thrilled to give him a winner with this horse.
“He gave this horse a great ride and never panicked. He needs that soft ground and, with a bit of luck, might win another one.”
Elliott and Carberry looked certain to triumph with Moonshine Lad, which had edged ahead and appeared full of running when crashing at the second last in the Fairyhouse Membership 2014 Maiden Hurdle.
Victory went to the Harry Kelly-trained mare The Housekeeper, a 16/1 shot which gave Mark Enright his third success since returning from injury, stretching clear to beat Rock High Lady by fifteen lengths.
“We’ve always thought a lot of her but this is the first time we’ve had a clear run with her,” said Kelly. “I was expecting her to run well and finish in the frame. She travels unreal in her races and just needed a couple of runs to settle her down. I’m delighted for her owner-breeders Joe and Tom Hayes.”
The bumper produced a potentially high-class performer in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Royal Caviar, which travelled strongly under an ultra-confident Patrick Mullins before quickening well and forging clear to triumph by six and a half lengths.
The champion trainer explained: “He’s a fine, big chasing type and I was pleased with the way he coped with that slow ground. Patrick said that he pulled hard but he picked up well and showed plenty of toe. I imagine he’ll go for a winners’ bumper.”
County Wexford trainer John Berry has enjoyed plenty of success at Fairyhouse over the years and struck again when the well-backed Ballyroe Rambler justified strong support in the Christmas Party Race Day Maiden Hurdle.
The six-year-old came from off the pace under Mikey Fogarty, hit the front before the final obstacle and drew clear to beat Captainofthefleet by five and a half lengths, prompting Berry to comment: “He ran well in Naas the last day and would have been closer if he hadn’t made a couple of mistakes late on. He’s not too bad and will go to Leopardstown at Christmas.”
After Philip Enright got Boss Croaker up to beat top-weight Troll D’Oudairies by a short-head in the three-mile handicap hurdle, trainer Robert Tyner suggested: “He would have been an unlucky loser after missing the last. He plan was to go to Thurles tomorrow, but I felt the ground here would be more suitable.”
The earlier Special Offers Handicap Hurdle provided the Foley family with a memorable success when 14/1 shot Might Be Magic, trained by Tom Foley for his daughter Sharon and ridden by his son Pat, got the better of Kick Start by a half-length.
nWillie Mullins was fined €200 following the withdrawal of Devil’s Bride (due to a change in ground) from the opening Premier Jump Weekend Hurdle and, as the Stewards did not accept the excuse offered, a mandatory two-day suspension applies to the horse, meaning he will miss his engagement in Thurles today.