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Extensio provides O'Donnell family with memorable success

Una, Sylvia and Pat O Donnell Una, Sylvia and Pat O Donnell
© Photo Healy Racing

A winner of the Ladies Derby at the Curragh two years ago, Extensio provided trainer Pat O'Donnell and his daughter Sylvia with another memorable success when staying on best to take the Fairyhouse Summer BBQ Rated Race.

Well behind the hat-trick seeking 10/11f Sixpack over course and distance last time, the seven-year-old came on from that reappearance run to comprehensively reverse that form here.

Held up towards rear of the six runners, the 7/2 chance looked set to finish behind the Johnny Murtagh trained Sixpack for a second time, as that Ben Coen ridden gelding led travelling easily early in the straight.

However, Sylvia O'Donnell, who was partnering just the second flat winner of her career, showed plenty of composure in coming with a well timed run down the wide outside from off the pace.

Leading 200 yards from the finish, Extensio kept on to beat Sixpack by one-and-a-half lengths.

Pat O'Donnell said: “I said to her coming in that we'll get rid of that 10lb claim anyhow! She has one more to go.

“This horse has been an absolute friend to our family. I was a bit critical of myself the last day when we came here to have our first run of the season.

“He blew the house down afterwards and I went home really critical of myself that I hadn't him quite ready for that sort of a task but we got him right.

“This horse continues to improve. I had a chat with (handicapper) Garry O'Gorman earlier purely out of curiosity about the conditions of this race because it cut up disappointingly.

“He said you've got to look at Galway but I just feel that even for the Flat ground there they will water and he rattles off that. I think I'll avoid that temptation.

“We've got to look at the English Cesarewitch, obviously he'll creep up a bit now. Joey (Sheridan) in Newmarket last year said maybe two is your job.

“He might have earned an entry into the Irish Cesarewitch if we can creep in.

“I was a little bit cautious because of how much the race took out of him the last day. Everyone had a good chat and we outlined how to get him back.

“It took him a while to get back to eating. We took his blood last week and scoped him and we were happy.

“It was hard to resist running with only six being declared and for Sylvia it was a nice race to ride in.

“She works full-time in BBA in the shipping department and rides out for Ken Condon every morning. She comes home at the weekend and sleeps and that's allowed!

“It's wonderful and we think we have a couple of others for her to ride during the summer.”

Additional reporting by Gary Carson.

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About John O'Riordan
John has worked for the Press Association since 2022. He also writes a weekly column for The Irish Field and is a regular contributor to the Irish Racing Yearbook. He has previously written for the Racing Post, Irish Examiner and Irish Daily Mirror. He has been involved in racing for over three decades; having experience as a syndicate member, sole owner and breeder.