Happy New Year jumps the last in front of Sherika
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Happy New Year followed up on his recent success at Gowran as he took the Greenmount Annual Membership Qualified Riders Handicap Hurdle under Roger Quinlan for trainer Oliver McKiernan.
The 8yo son of Flemensfirth (second winner of the day for that sire after Backinthere) was given a thirteen pound hike in the ratings after his Gowran success brining him to a mark of 95, however he carried just a winners penalty of four pounds extra today.
Sent off the 13/8 favourite he raced in second in the early stages before hitting the front at the eighth flight.
He was pushed along entering the straight but he kept on well under pressure on the run-in to hold off the runner-up and win by a neck.
Sherika ran a fine race for Grainne O’Connor and Barry O’Neill but she couldn’t peg back the winner and had to settle for second at 8/1 while War Of Words was a further nine lengths back in third at 25/1 for Denis Ahern and Declan Queally.
Oliver McKiernan said afterwards: "I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do but it appears it didn’t come too soon for him.
"He will have a small break now and come back here at Christmas time. He is not a superstar yet so we won’t bring him to Leopardstown."
(Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes)