Who would have won had Samcro stood up? Watch a full replay of a thrilling Grade One Chase at Fairyhouse.
An electric round of jumping saw Fakir D’oudairies win the Baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse – where Samcro capsized at the second last when still upsides.
Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old was in receipt of 8lb from his rivals and looked a natural on his chasing debut. As a result, Mark Walsh had no qualms in setting off in front on Fakir D’oudairies.
Irish National winner Burrows Saint attempted to keep him company in the early stages but by halfway had been burned off – and Walsh continually asked for big leaps on his mount, gaining ground at every fence.
While Samcro did not jump with the same elan, he moved up ominously on the approach to the second last – with Jack Kennedy sat motionless, while Walsh was just beginning to ask for more.
Samcro did not appear to make much of a mistake at the fence but he sprawled on landing, giving Kennedy no chance and leaving the 6-4 favourite free to come home alone.
Joseph O'Brien tells Gary O'Brien about his exciting winner
Romald Pump rewarded his connections’ bravery for supplementing him earlier in the week by running on for second some 22 lengths away, having been brought to a halt by a bad blunder as the pace quickened in the final half mile.
The winner is now 4-1 favourite (from 7s) for the Arkle with Betfair, and 10-1 from 12s for the JLT.
Racing TV held a poll on Twitter as to who would have won had Samcro not exited. Within 35 minutes, 868 people had voted with 58 per cent believing Samcro would have prevailed. 21 per cent thought Fakir D’oudairies would have won, with the same number sitting on the fence and voting for "we will never know.
O'Brien said: "Mark gave him a lovely ride. He took it up down the back, and he jumped from fence to fence. He really attacked his fences.
"It's a pity Samcro didn't stand up - because it was looking like it was going to be a great race - but I'm delighted with our horse.
He's some scope for a four-year-old, Mark Walsh said of the winner
"He has a fantastic aptitude for racing, and every day he's enthusiastic about his work and schooling. He's a proper racehorse, and we are very lucky to have him.
"He has plenty of options, and we could go over two miles at Leopardstown or two and a half at Limerick. He probably will stay further in time."
Gordon Elliott said of Samcro to Racing TV: "He's fine, but that's racing. I remember I won my first Grade One because another horse fell.
"It would have been interesting. Jack said he couldn't have been happier - but jockeys always say that when they fall, don't they?!"
Earlier O’Brien dominated the Eur 30 Free Bet Baroneracing.com Juvenile Hurdle, with Cerberus holding off stablemate A Wave Of The Sea.
Watch a full replay of the Baroneracing.com-sponsored Juvenile Hurdle
The two had met back in October when only a neck separated them – with A Wave Of The Sea coming out on top, before being subsequently bought by JP McManus.
With a 4lb swing at the weights, Cerberus had every chance of turning the tables – because both had come out and won since their original meeting.
Robbie Power bounced Cerberus into an early lead, and some swift jumping meant A Wave Of The Sea was always slightly on the back foot. Then in the home straight, Cerberus put the race to bed with a smart change of gear.
He came home two and a quarter lengths in front of his fellow 5-4 joint-favourite in the Grade Three.
Gordon Elliott reacts to Samcro's exit
“They both ran well, and probably the quicker horse won a tactical race,” said O’Brien. “He’s very quick through the air and always very accurate. He had the form – and they are two decent three-year-olds.
“They will probably both go to Leopardstown (at Christmas), and stamina will come more into play there. This place always favours a bit of speed, and that ground is not too bad.”
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