Foxrock justifies odds as On The Fringe misses out on comeback
Enda Bolger-trained horse is as low as 2-1 to win Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham again
Foxrock ridden by Katie Walsh comes home to win the Leopardstown Inn Hunters Chase. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The champion hunter-chaser On The Fringe just failed to get a fairytale comeback to action at Leopardstown on Sunday but indicated he was on target to defend his Cheltenham crown next month.
If the race-fit 2-5 favourite Foxrock ultimately emerged best in a titanic duel for the Leopardstown Inn Hunters Chase, On The Fringe fans could take consolation that he isn’t eligible to run at Cheltenham in the Foxhunters and that their veteran hero has a history of stepping up his game at the festival.
In that context it was an immensely encouraging first run in almost 10 months. “We were taking on different gravy with Foxrock and our lad showed the sparkle is still there and he still has a hunger for it. You would like to think he will come on for the run,” said On The Fringe’s trainer Enda Bolger.
On The Fringe, who became the first horse to complete the Foxhunters Triple Crown at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown in 2015 and who repeated the hat-trick last year, is as low as 2-1 for next month’s festival race.
Foxrock will instead run at Gowran next month in the Tetratema Cup and will get entries in both the English and Irish Grand Nationals.
“It will be interesting to see what weight he gets for Aintree on Tuesday,” said trainer Ted Walsh.
Sunday’s crowd of 9,376 was slightly up on last year. Tote turnover of €677,212 was up from €507,955 a year ago, but bookmaker betting was down to €732,261 from €848,647.