Happy New Year with connections after he took the fourth at Gowran
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Carrying just 9-3, Happy New Year finally got off the mark as he took the Gowran Park Racing Club 2013 Handicap Hurdle on his twenty second career start.
The Oliver McKiernan trained son of Flemensfirth put in a career best performance on his last start at Punchestown to finish just four and a half lengths second to Followmeuptocarlow.
He was well fancied to oblige this afternoon and having opened at 11/2 with Paddy Powers this morning he was backed into 9/2 before opening on-course at 3/1 and going off the 11/4 favourite.
Ridden by seven pound claimer Shane Crimin, he made virtually all and was pushed along in the early straight before keeping on well from before the last to record an easy five length success.
The Paul Nolan trained top weight Jupitor ran well to finish second at 6/1 while Volkis O'Bleu kept on to take third under Martin Ferris a further seven lengths back at 14/1.
Oliver McKiernan, who was recording his ninth winner of the season, said afterwards: "That was a long time coming. We brought him to Punchestown around this time last year and we thought he wouldn't be beaten but he let us down badly. He let us down a few times since as well.
"I suppose you could describe him as a little bit of a rogue. That was his first time running over three miles and he wasn’t too tired at the finish.
"He will go for another handicap next and he will go back over fences."
(Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes)