Apt Approach Records His Seventh Success

Sat 15th Dec 2012, 14:47

Apt Approach & Paul Townend (right) on their way to victory with eventual third Earlson Gray on the left
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Apt Approach got back to winning ways as he took the Follow Fairyhouse on Twitter Rated Hurdle under Paul Townend for Willie Mullins.

The 9yo son of Bob Back (second winner at Fairyhouse for that sire after Canaly) won three chases in-a-row last season but was then beaten on his subsequent three starts in high class contests.

Making his seasonal reappearance this afternoon and his first start over hurdles since May of 2009, he was sent off the 11/8 favourite.

He tracked the leaders in the early stages and made some jumping errors along the way. He went second at the second last and he was soon pushed along to lead.

He stayed on well under pressure from the last to score by a length at the line from Prince Rudi who ran a big race in second under Ian McCarthy for Stephen Nolan at 20/1.

The Dessie Hughes trained Earlson Gray finished a further three and three parts of a length back in third under Bryan Cooper at 7/2.

Willie Mullins said afterwards of his seven time winning gelding: "He was suited by conditions. I think he has only had two runs over hurdles and we will keep him over hurdles now if we can. We will try and find another conditions race for him next."

(Additional reporting by Gary Carson)

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.