After even money-favourite Fine Article unshipped Robbie Power at the second, Dallas Cowboy soon established a clear lead. But Festive Day, under Lynch, closed to track the leader early in the last mile and edged ahead after the second last before stretching clear and staying on strongly to win by 31 lengths from fellow 50/1 shot Boite A Musique with the weary Dallas Cowboy third.
“That wasn’t expected,” quipped Lee. “The race turned into a bit of a farce after the favourite fell. But he jumped great and won well. And Andrew was very happy with him.”
The last obstacle stood between Lynch and further success at either end of this seven-race card as favourites Seven Nation Army and Missyspet made their respective exits.
Seven Nation Army, the 4/7 favourite, cruised alongside the front-running Be The Hero turning for home in the opening maiden hurdle but, in front after the second last flight, was struggling to shake off Bryan Cooper’s mount when crashing at the last, leaving the second favourite to triumph by 22 lengths from Moonlit Theatre.
“We were probably a bit lucky,” stated Gordon Elliott, who trains Be The Hero for Gigginstown House Stud.
“But Bryan said our fellow wasn’t beaten and was staying going. It wasn’t the strongest of races, but it’s grand to win.”
The last fence also decided the outcome of the concluding mares beginners’ chase as favourite Missyspet, the marginal leader, blundered and unseated Lynch, leaving the Mick Winters-trained Kara Loca to win by six and a half lengths from Miss Speedy.
A delighted Winters said: “It was nip and tuck at the last. But Jonathan Burke thought she’d stay going. I’d say the smaller field suited her.”
On the day news broke about the end of his contract as Barry Connell’s retained rider, Adrian Heskin was on the mark when partnering Change The Rules, trained in County Clare by Aengus King, to a clear-cut win in the www.fairyhouse.ie Handicap Chase.
The 12/1 shot was left clear when nearest challenger Carrigeen Lobelia crashed at the second last, leaving Heskin’s mount to score by 12 lengths.
Jockey Paddy Kennedy registered his second win in four days when Candlestick, trained by Jessica Harrington, dug deep to land the Online Discounts At fairyhouse.ie Maiden Hurdle at the expense of Bringerofthedawn.
Harington said: “He promised a bit the first day but has been disappointing since. The penny has been a bit slow to drop and, even today, Paddy was scrubbing him along after the fourth last to get him to go. But he jumped the last two really well.
“He’s a half-brother to Burn And Turn and is bred to be better on better ground.He’ll be a nice horse over fences.”
Local trainer Dermot McLoughlin received a timely boost before Vics Canvas lines up for the Crabbie’s Grand National in Aintree on Saturday, when Uptake, enterprisingly ridden by Conor Maxwell, made all for a seven and a half length victory over favourite Tyrone Tiger in the Like Fairyhouse On Facebook Handicap Hurdle.
“He’s a fine horse, but had bad legs — he had problems before we got him,” explained McLoughlin, who has booked Robbie Dunne for the Aintree hope.
“He’ll be a grand horse in time, over fences, if we can keep him right.”
Back at the scene of his Boylesports Irish Grand National success on Rogue Angel, Ger Fox partnered Killaro Boy to an all-the-way win for trainer Adrian Murray in the Bobbyjo Bistro Novice Handicap Hurdle.