Azorian gains overdue success at Navan

Trainer Eoin Griffin is keeping his fingers crossed Azorian has turned a corner after the highly-tried gelding gained an overdue success at Navan yesterday.

Azorian gains overdue success at Navan

The seven-year-old chased home the likes of Apache Stronghold, Briar Hill, Faugheen and Vautour as a novice hurdler last season and was third behind The Tullow Tank on his fencing bow at Fairyhouse in November.

After pulling up at Punchestown a couple of weeks later, Azorian reverted the smaller obstacles when third at Clonmel last month, and was a 4-6 favourite back over fences in the Follow Navan On Facebook Beginners Chase.

Sent straight to the lead by Bryan Cooper, his round of jumping was not error-free but Eoin Griffin’s charge ultimately had plenty in the tank and came home eight lengths clear of Big Kern.

Griffin said: “It’s nice to have him back on a winning track. He’s been a bit frustrating after showing a lot of promise early on. He’s had breathing problems and has had a lot of operations.

“We mightn’t pull up at the end of the season and he could keep going during the summer as long as the ground isn’t quick.”

Cooper went on to complete a double on the afternoon, steering the Tony Martin-trained No Secrets to victory in the Newgrange Veterans Handicap Chase.

A winner for Warren Greatrex and David Pipe in Britain, No Secrets was a 4-1 shot on his first start for his new trainer and got the better of Letter Of Credit by three-quarters of a length.

Hot favourite Glenquest looked likely to triumph between the final two fences, but faded quickly.

“I have a few nice horses for Malcolm Denmark. He has a lot of interest in Ireland and has bought a few nice horses,” said Martin.

“I’ve known Malcolm for a long time, since the days of Monsignor. He offered me a job at that time and we’ve been good friends since. We’re looking for another Monsignor!

“I’m very pleased. He’s done it well and hopefully can carry on from here.”

Martin also landed the bumper with the JP McManus-owned Anibale Fly (5-4 favourite), ridden by Donagh Meyler.

A final flight misjudgement was not enough to stop Sam Red sauntering clear in the Racing 15th March Maiden Hurdle for trainer Alan Fleming and jockey Adrian Heskin.

The Barry Connell-owned French recruit was the even-money favourite having finished third on his Irish debut at Gowran Park a fortnight ago and despite fluffing his lines at the last, he was much too good for his opponents, passing the post 26 lengths clear of The Living Beauty.

Fleming said: “I’m really happy with him. He loved the ground and he (Adrian) had loads of horse at the finish. I’m very pleased.

“We’ll wait for Fairyhouse for the (Easter) Festival. If the ground is soft he’ll go there.”

Wildebeest benefited from a typically confident ride from Paul Carberry as he opened his account over jumps in the Nobber Maiden Hurdle.

The Punchestown bumper winner failed to get seriously competitive in his first couple of starts over timber, but was an 11-4 joint-favourite to make it third time lucky.

Sizing Titanium was clear in the home straight, but Carberry remained motionless and his mount gradually ate up the ground and was well on top at the finish, scoring by two lengths.

“He worked last Tuesday with the horse that won on Saturday (Heck Thomas) and I was thinking that either the other horse worked badly or he worked exceptionally well,” said Meade.

“He’s a chaser for next year. He’s a big horse by Oscar and could make a nice one.”

Fledgling jockey David Mullins was almost Carberry-esque aboard Peter Fahey’s 3-1 joint-favourite Mine Now in the Garlow Cross Handicap Hurdle.

The 5lb claimer, son of trainer Tom Mullins, cut a confident figure throughout and mowed down 2012 Irish Grand National winner Lion Na Bearnai, the other market leader.

Fahey said: “He deserves it more than anything. He’s been running great and in some good handicaps.

“We were delighted with his last run and David gave him a great ride today.

“He’ll stay tipping away in handicaps and I think he’s qualified for the three-mile novice handicap at Fairyhouse.”

Jody McGarvey booted the McManus-owned The Parishioner (11-1) home in front in the Dunsany Handicap Chase for trainer John Kiely.

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