On The Fringe Targets Aintree Stage

Wed 20th Feb 2013, 13:06

On The Fringe
©Healy Racing Photos
Enda Bolger is hopeful leading hunter chaser On The Fringe will have fully recovered from injury in time to compete over the Grand National fences at Aintree in April.

The lightly raced eight-year-old was beaten into fourth when joint-favourite for the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in 2011 and although he missed the Festival last year, he ran some fine races, signing off with an impressive victory at Punchestown.

Bolger had hoped to see the JP McManus-owned gelding return to Prestbury Park next month, but an injury picked up over the Christmas period means he will not be ready to make the trip across the Irish Sea.

However, the Foxhunters' Chase at Aintree could now be on his agenda.

"He picked up a stress fracture over Christmas and unfortunately that ruled him out of Cheltenham as he won't be ready in time," said Bolger.

"He's back in action now and will hopefully be ready to go in the spring. He could go to Liverpool (Aintree) for the Foxhunters' there and there is Fairyhouse and Punchestown too."

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.

THE IRISH TIMES