Benbulben Off The Mark Over Fences

Sat 1st Dec 2012, 14:52

Mount Benbulben and Davy Condon
©Healy Racing Photos
By Thomas Weekes
The Gordon Elliott trained Mount Benbulben made it third time lucky over fences when overcoming a slightly hair-raising round of jumping to win the Nicky Connors - Lifetime In Racing Beginners Steeplechase at Fairyhouse today.

Ably ridden by Davy Condon, the gelding, a high lcass novice hurdler last season, almost came to grief at the second fence and needed Condon's patience to get back into the race. Although untidy at stages, the 8/13 favourite coasted to the front before the final fence before recording an easy five lengths win over Mackeys Forge.

Afterwards Elliott stated “Mount Benbulben has got a right engine if we can get his jumping right. He is a bit sketchy and it was a good performance considering he was nearly on the ground (at the second fence).

“We'll look for something over Christmas and he's entered in the three miles Grade 1 Fort Leney Chase at Leopardstown and he'd have no trouble staying that trip.”

Further reporting from Alan Magee

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.