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Herds Garden left clear in dramatic opener

Walk To Freedom crashes out on the run-in, leaving The Herds Garden clearWalk To Freedom crashes out on the run-in, leaving The Herds Garden clear
© Photo Healy Racing

The Noel Meade trained The Herds Garden was left clear, in an unusual incident, in the closing stages of the opening New Years Day Racing At Fairyhouse – Book Today Maiden Hurdle at Fairyhouse today, justifying strong 5/4 favouritism (from 2/1 in the morning) to win under Paul Carberry.

The Herds Garden was chasing leader and well backed Walk To Freedom (11/1 in the morning into 8/1) at the final flight and was closing strongly on the run-in. Carberry's mount had improved to dispute the lead inside the final furlong and with victory looking likely, was left well clear when Walk To Freedom (under Robbie Power) ducked out through the running rail when seemingly shying away from the whip.

The Herds Garden then eased home for a comfortable five lengths success over Red Robin.

Following the win, Meade stated “every time he's ever run we fancied him, even the day he was beaten by Shaneshill. He has always shown us loads of toe but has just disappointed. He's started the season well though and hopefully he stays right.

“He's a nice horse and will hopefully carry on from there. Originally we thought he wanted it very soft but he seemed to quicken up well there.”

Regarding the incident on the run-in involving Walk To Freedom, Meade added “I thought he was going to win, and Paul felt that too, whatever about happened the other fella.

“I told Paul not to get there too soon but I was a bit worried halfway round! Sometimes it's a dangerous thing to tell Paul!”

Quotes from Gary Carson

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.