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Antrim Coast strikes in sunny south-east

Owner Basil Holian and Keith Donoghue with Antrim Coast  Owner Basil Holian and Keith Donoghue with Antrim Coast
© Photo Healy Racing

The Support The Irish Injured Jockeys Hurdle produced a cracking finish with three horses in with a chance after the last. Oscars Brother had looked set to score between the final two flights but a blunder at the last proved costly and 5/6 favourite Antrim Coast trained by Gavin Cromwell for Basil Holian, got up in the final strides to score by a neck. Oscars Brother had to settle for second with Pray Tell a further length and a-quarter away in third.

Winning rider Keith Donoghue said: “He was tough. I like this horse a lot and I didn't think I'd have to work as hard as that for it. 

“I was glad that he did battle, he could have thrown in the towel after the second last but he stuck his head down and galloped well to the line. 

“He is going to be a real staying chaser and I'd say he just got caught for that little bit of toe on dead ground. That's why he's in at this time of year, he wants nicer ground — he's by Presenting. 

“Coming into the dip it was a bit tacky and I was spinning on it a little bit. I got a good jump at the last and thankfully we got there.” 

The winner had been very consistent bar a poor run at Cheltenham in January and Donoghue added:- “He just boiled before the race and we put a line through that. He had a good run in Punchestown the last day, we like him a good bit. 

“He's need to step up from today but I think he will over fences. 

“I'd say he could stay going, maybe Galway for a beginners (chase). Probably come the middle of the winter he'd be getting a break and hopefully he'd be one for a good handicap next spring. Whether it's an Irish National, that could maybe a bit much but we'll see.” 

Donoghue had been sporting a bandage on his thumb and said:- “I broke it and missed a couple of weeks but thankfully I'm back nearly three weeks now. 

“That's 12 winners so it's been worth coming back for. 

“I was back in the hospital this morning and they're happy with it, it is healing although there is a bit of a cut.

“I just have to get the wire taken out next week and they told me in a couple of weeks I'll be able to ride a horse so I just said that's grand!”

Quotes from Gary Carson

About Mark Nunan
Mark has followed racing since he was a teenager and worked for many years as a broadcaster with the Irish version of Racecall. He joined the Press Association in 2019 and is also a contributor to the Racing Post. A native of Kildare, he now lives in Sligo.