Nina Carberry took the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase aboard On The Fringe, trained by Enda Bolger at the Cheltenham Festival yesterday (Friday 13 March).
Nina was thrilled to be back in the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure in the green and gold silks of JP McManus, and it was fifth Festival win for the Irish rider.
“He was properly right today. Last year there was something wrong with him and he finished very tired. I always knew he’d be able to stay and I was disappointed last year, but Enda had him spot-on,” she said after the race.
“Today he was so impressive and he showed us what he was like.”
Ten-year-old On The Fringe finished third in the race last year and fourth in 2011, one year after he had landed Punchestown’s Champion Hunters’ Chase as a five-year-old, a race he also won last year.
Nina was aboard another Enda Bolger trained horse, Quantitiveeasing on Wednesday (11 March), when the runner was taken out by another horse and brushed past photographer Patrick McCann, breaking the photographer’s leg.
The win today made up for that disappointment in the cross-country chase for the trainer.
“JT McNamara [who was paralysed in a fall at the Festival two years ago] used to ride the horse and Nina did a great job today,” said Enda. “You don’t give riders that good instructions, you just say go out and enjoy yourself and if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t there’s another day.
“He’s a brilliant jumper. Hopefully it will be Aintree next for the Fox Hunters’ Chase — that track will suit him. He’s on the top of his game and the little drop of rain we’ve had didn’t hurt him, but he likes good ground.”
In second was 50-1 shot Following Dreams, ridden by Sam Drinkwater, while favourite Paint The Clouds, trained by Thursday’s World Hurdle winner Warren Greatrex and ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen were third.
Following Dreams, who is trained near Ludlow by Alistair Ralph, was due to to be ridden by Tom Weston until he suffered two punctured lungs in a fall on Thursday (12 March) so Sam stepped in.
“That was amazing,” said Alistair. “Tom was due to ride, but Sam did a great job and was cool, calm and collected. He motored down the hill, and while he found one too good he ran so well for a 50/1 shot. He’s still a novice, so the John Corbet Cup at Stratford would be a logical target.”
The Weston family and the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday (13 March) confirmed that Tom is in the intensive care unit at Southmead hospital in Bristol and is in a stable condition.