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.
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.
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 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: “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?!”