On the Fringe helps Carberry end frustrating festival on a high
No fairytale farewell for McCoy as Ned Buntline is fourth in the Grand Annual
Nina Carberry is led back in after winning on board On the Fringe. Photograph: Dan Sheridan
Nina Carberry retrieved an otherwise frustrating Cheltenham 2015 with a first festival success over the famous steeplechase track on board Enda Bolger’s On The Fringe in the Foxhunters.
The ‘old firm’ combination had had their chance of a fourth Cross-Country success here taken away in controversial circumstances on Wednesday when Quantitiveeasing was put through a rail after the second last obstacle when looking to have every chance.
On Tuesday Carberry’s favourite for the four-miler, Very Wood, could finish only tenth while on Thursday, she was runner up on Bless The Wings in the Kim Muir.
But On The Fringe, a Foxhunters fourth to Zemsky in 2011 under John Thomas McNamara, and third last year, made it third time lucky in the big festival prize, proving seventeen lengths too good for Following Dreams.
It gave Bolger a second win in the race after Elegant Lord, who he rode himself, back in 1996 and Carberry was thrilled to have secured a fifth festival winner, a decade after the first, Dabiroun in the Fred Winter Hurdle.
“JT (McNamara) always believed in him and always said he would this race,” she said. “He showed today what he can do. I’m so pleased Enda and JP (McManus) let me back on him as I’m at Aidan O’Brien’s now so I can’t ride at Enda’s as much as I used to.”
Bolger will now target Liverpool’s Foxhunters over the big Grand National fences with On The Fringe and added: “He’s been threatening to do that but I wasn’t expecting that kind of performance. He’s gone and done it today and everyone’s happy.”
Nicky Henderson saddled a sixth winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle and left no one in doubt about his mastery of the juvenile championship with a 1-2-3 led by the 2/1 favourite Peace And Co.
Barry Geraghty’s mount had a neck in hand of Top Notch in the same colours while Tony McCoy was third on the McManus owned Hargam.
“Willie Mullins has monopolised all week so it’s nice to do something ridiculous!” said the man who remains the festival’s most successful ever trainer. “You’d never have dreamt that all three would come to the last together but they were all entitled to run.”
For a moment coming to the last in the Grand Annual, it looked like AP McCoy would get his fairytale festival send-off in the race named after him.
However Ned Buntline’s chance hadn’t been helped when he was hampered by a faller at the fourth last fence and the task of recovering from that contributed to him fading up the hill to finish fourth behind Next Sensation.
The winner was ridden by Tom Scudamore for his trainer-brother, Michael.