Oliver McKiernan trains Happy New Year
©Healy Racing Photos
By Michael Graham
Happy New Year recorded a game victory at Punchestown under Shane Crimin as he repelled all challengers to take the two and a half mile 16-runner handicap hurdle.
The pair were always prominent and moved into the lead five out. From there the dangers were queuing up behind, but Crimin urged his mount over the final flights and they weren’t headed in scoring by three and a half lengths at 13/2.
Alasty was the runner-up at 14/1. Lookoutnow (5/1 from 8/1 in the morning) and Bobsthewizard (7/1 from 11/1 this morning) completed the places in third and fourth respectively.
“It was a competitive handicap and they went a good gallop, but he stuck at it well,” handler Oliver McKiernan said.
“He has won over three miles before. He’ll run somewhere around Christmas. He’s definitely improving.
“We only just made it from Fairyhouse [point-to-point meeting] where we won the four-year-old maiden with a horse called On The Shannon.”
Followmeuptocarlow was sent off 9/4 favourite. He was travelling on the heels of the leaders but couldn’t pick up and finished seventh.
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)