Capital Off Mark Over Timber

Wed 5th Dec 2012, 12:34

Venture Capital leads Our Native Land at the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Gary Carson
Venture Capital made a winning start over timber with a cosy success in the opening maiden hurdle at Wexford.

The Presenting gelding had been an impressive winner on his debut in a Fairyhouse bumper last season before struggling in desperate conditions in the Grade One event won by Champagne Fever at Punchestown.

Philip Fenton's charge was sent off 11/10 favourite for his hurdling bow and got the job done in good style.

Brian O'Connell urged his mount to take closer order turning for home and he hit the front at the last from Our Native Land.

He asserted on the run-in to post a two-and-three-quarter length success.

"At last!" exclaimed Fenton who had been waiting to run his charge.

"We've been trying to avoid heavy ground with him and today is as heavy as he would like it.

"Having the freshest of the ground today helped. He'll get two-and-a-half and the experience will stand to him.

"Leopardstown at Christmas is a possibility or else he could run in the New Year."

It was the first winner that Fenton has trained for owner JP McManus and the first time O'Connell carried the famous green and gold hoops to victory.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes)

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.