Wick­low Brave a bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment at Fairy­house on Sun­day

Bray People - - SPORT - RAC­ING EX­TRA WITH WIL­LIAM O’TOOLE

HORSE RAC­ING can be a game of mixed for­tunes at times and when your lucks out, it’s out. Leading Ir­ish owner Barry Con­nell must surely be ru­ing his luck lately.

First off, he chose to with­draw leading Chel­tenham con­tender, The Tul­low Tank, due to the con­tro­versy that was sur­round­ing his trainer, Philip Fen­ton, at the time.

Now, no­body forced him to do this, but he must have felt that given what was go­ing on at the time, that, were the horse to win, his vic­tory might have been ques­tioned.

On to the fes­ti­val it­self and he lost one of the best horses in his own­er­ship, Our Con­nor. He had shelled out a con­sid­er­able sum for the horse who had cre­ated a big im­pres­sion at the pre­vi­ous years fes­ti­val. For him not to wit­ness him win­ning a race in his colours was an­other blow.

Then on Satur­day, he would surely have had a tinge of re­gret when Pineau De Re ran out a com­pre­hen­sive win­ner of the Grand Na­tional.

When the horse won last year’s Ul­ster Na­tional, he was in his own­er­ship. Af­ter the race, the horse was sold on to Eng­land.

It was un­usual at the time be­cause he is a buyer and not gen­er­ally known for sell­ing horses he owns. As to why ex­actly he sold it on, we can only spec­u­late, but watch­ing him win Satur­day’s big one must have been a bit­ter-sweet mo­ment for him.

Speak­ing of Pineau De Re, con­grat­u­la­tions must go to our colum­nist, Philip Roth­well, who tipped the 25/1 win­ner in his col­umn last week.

Closer to home there was good rac­ing in both codes over the weekend. On Sun­day, Fairy­house played host to a qual­ity Jumps card which fea­tured a Grade 1 and three Grade 2s.

The fea­ture race on the card, the Ir­ish Stal­lion Farms E.B.F. Mares Novice Hur­dle Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, was won in im­pres­sive fash­ion by the Wil­lie Mullins trained, Adri­ana Des Mottes.

Mullins sad­dled top class mare, An­nie Power, to land the race last year and he looks to have an­other classy mare on his hands with this win­ner.

How­ever in the day’s other fea­ture race, the Mullins team were out of luck when Wick­low Brave was a bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment in the Grade 2 Novice Hur­dle.

He had run a blinder in the Supreme Novice at Chel­tenham and prior to that he had won six on the bounce so per­haps he had done his win­ning for the sea­son.

The head­lines on the level over the weekend were taken by the Jim Bol­ger and Kevin Man­ning combo, who en­joyed five win­ners. Next week’s ac­tion comes from Lim­er­ick, Wex­ford, Na­van, Tramore, and the Cur­ragh.

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