Review Fairyhouse 1st Jan

Tue 1st Jan 2013, 15:40

Western Leader and Andrew McNamara
©Healy Racing Photos

Western Leader showed tremendous battling abilities to come out on top in the Ratoath Community Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse.

Involved in a duel for the lead for much of the race with Golanbrook, the 7-2 chance looked to have come out second best in that duel rounding the home turn.

Rupert Lamb looked likely to trump them both, butp>Western Leader ran on well under Andrew McNamara to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Speed Dial produced a strong late surge to land the richest race on the card, the Start The New Year At Fairyhouse Handicap Hurdle.

Pat Hughes' 5-2 favourite still had work to do after the last as Acriveen just edged ahead.

However, Tim Carroll galvanisedp>Speed Dial and he finished with a flourish to score by two and a quarter lengths.

King Of Firth produced a game effort from the front to land the New Year Maiden Hurdle.

His trainer Mags Mullins has been in flying form of late and he travelled well throughout under Danny Mullins.

The 2-1 favourite fended off the attentions of Smithfield and Pyrus Gold Wind all the way up the home straight, beating the latter by two lengths at the line.

Annie Oakley struck with an impressive finishing burst to land the Bobbyjo Bistro Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Always to the fore under Robbie Power, the 3-1 chance took over in front at the second last and a slick leap at the final flight was enough for her to come three and a half lengths clear of Queen Of The Hill.

Wise Oscar was an impressive winner of the Special Offers In Bobbyjo Bistro Handicap Hurdle for Dessie Hughes and Bryan Cooper.

The 6-4 favourite edged into the lead at the second-last and cruised clear, eventually recording an eight-length verdict over Miss Xian.

Gordon Elliott's Tarquinius (5-2) landed the Fairyhouse Members Handicap Chase.

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.