Racing: ESSEX IS ACE-FOR IRELAND.
Byline: By ROCKAVON
IRISH eyes Irish Eyes is the fifth of the Nuala Anne McGrail series of mystery novels by Roman Catholic priest and author Father Andrew M. Greeley. were smiling at Newbury yesterday - thanks to a hero with the most ENGLISH of names.
Hot favourite Essex, heavily backed at 4-1, bolted up in the totesport Trophy Hurdle.
Trainer Michael O'Brien Michael or Mike O'Brien may refer to:
But the 11st 6lb burden proved no problem as Essex came home three lengths clear of Bongo Fury.
Jockey Barry Geraghty Barry Geraghty (born 16 September 1979 in County Meath, Ireland) is an Irish jockey. Geraghty rode his first winner in January 1997, three years later he became the Irish Champion jump jockey for the first time. He won the Grand National in 2003 on Monty's Pass. always had the jolly in a handy position behind early pace-setter Sharp Rigging and switched wide to challenge turning into the straight.
Bongo Fury took it up at the second last but Essex was just hitting top gear in behind and jumped into the lead at the last. Geraghty kept him going and he never looked in trouble as 33-1 shot Bongo Fury and Al Eile (10-1) fought it out for second. Hawadeth (40-1) was fourth.
Farmer Jack muddied the Gold Cup picture as he confounded punters with a battling success in the Aon Chase The AON Chase is a Grade 2 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom for five-year-old and above horses. It is run over a distance of 3 miles (4,828 metres) at Newbury Racecourse in February. There are eighteen fences to be jumped in the race. .
The Philip Hobbs-trained 12-1 chance came into the race with something to prove about his ability to see out the three-mile trip.
But after being headed by Strong Flow at the cross fence five out the Farmer stuck on well under Richard Johnson to regain the advantage.
In the final stages he quickened up to win by a length and a half. Celestial Gold lost his unbeaten record for the season, finishing a head further back.
Both horses were eased in the Gold Cup betting by most bookmakers, with Coral pushing out Strong Flow to 14-1.
Totesport pushed out Celestial Gold to 14-1, keeping Strong Flow unchanged at 10s. However, Ladbrokes decided to cut Celestial Gold's price from 12-1 down to 8-1.
Azertyuiop benefited from his main rival Well Chief's sloppy jumping to claim the totepool Game Spirit Chase.
Azertyuiop, the 11-10 favourite, was always travelling well behind Mister McGoldrick and turning for home was going much the best of the three.
Mister McGoldrick dropped away leaving the big two to battle it out.
Azertyuiop was five lengths clear under Ruby Walsh at the last where he brushed through the top. That gave Timmy Murphy a glimmer of hope.
However, Azertyuiop dug deep and got home by two and a half lengths.
Azertyuiop and Moscow Flyer are 7-4 joint favourites with Victor Chandler for the Queen Mother Champion Chase The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom for five-year-old and above horses. It is run over a distance of 2 miles (3,219 metres) at Cheltenham Racecourse during the Cheltenham Festival in March. with Well Chief out to 3-1 from 9-4.
Punters' pal: Favourite Essex (left) lands the odds in the big race at Newbury; Walsh: On Azertyuiop