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Alan Magee

Alan Magee

Fox records 25/1 shock on Pump Road

Derek Fox, trainer Mark McNiff (2nd from left) and owner Liam Kelly (left) pictured with Pump RoadDerek Fox, trainer Mark McNiff (2nd from left) and owner Liam Kelly (left) pictured with Pump Road
© Photo Healy Racing

Grand National winning rider Derek Fox was seen to great effect as Pump Road recorded a 25/1 shock in division one of the Kennedy’s Bar Sligo Handicap Hurdle.

Fox, who landed the National two years ago on One For Arthur and enjoyed another good spin on the Lucinda Russell-trained gelding in the Aintree showpiece when sixth earlier this month, recorded what was an unlikely victory for most of the 2m4f trip here.

The Mark McNiff-trained gelding did well to survive a bad mistake at the fifth flight, and still had more of the 15-runner field ahead of him than behind after the second last.

However the seven-year-old came home to such effect on the run-in that he had six and a half lengths to spare at the line. Solar Heat denied Epsilon Indi close home for the runner-up spot, with the latter’s rider Darragh O’Keeffe picking up a five days suspension for mistaking the 50 yard post for the winning post and easing down.

Fox said, “He made a bad mistake early and got a bit out of his ground but as the race went on he warmed up and jumped well. Once he started passing one or two he flew home.

“They probably went a good enough gallop but he got into a nice rhythm after the mistake and relaxed. He kept going well, and is like a horse that will stay further. Slower ground might help him as well.”