Zekarya and Derek O'Connor are clear over the last fence
©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
The severe weather in Britain upset travel arrangements for Jack Doyle but it proved good fortune for record-breaking point-to-point rider Derek O’Connor who took full advantage of a spare ride on Zekarya in the 2m3f beginners chase.
Doyle was due to partner the grey gelding for his dad, Pat, but was unable to get a flight over from Bristol airport last night.
Fernhurst Lad made a bold bid from the front in the very testing ground, and had his rivals well-stretched with some fine jumping up the back straight.
However O’Connor steadily reeled in the front-runner and, after leading early in the straight, drew right away on the 6/1 chance to score by a very easy 17 lengths from Killcara Boy (9/2).
Mattara (16/1) kept on onepaced to deny the tiring 3/1 favouritep>Fernhurst Lad third spot.
Pat Doyle said, “Jack got held up for four hours in Bristol airport last night on a flight that didn’t go, and it took him another two hours to drive home a distance that normally takes about three quarters of an hour. There was no way he could make it.
“I love winners but this one hasn’t given me as much pleasure as I would have liked. Having said that, I couldn’t be happier to get Derek O’Connor as we have a long association together. To be honest it was a fairly ordinary race.”
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes