DERRYLIN trainer, David Christie, who has dominated the local point to point circuit in recent years and enjoyed a very successful campaign on the course proper this season with six winners to date, sprang a major surprise at Aintree on Saturday. ‘Koshari’, a former inmate of Champion Trainer, Willie Mullins, was having his first start for the Fermanagh handler in the £20,000 Pertemps Handicap Hurdle and, with Jonathan Moore in the saddle, recorded an 80/1 victory.
The local horse was held up early, having been fitted with first time cheek pieces and shouldering top weight, but stayed on extremely well from the third last to lead at the final flight and kept on resolutely to beat ‘Deise Aba’, owned by the late Trevor Hemmings.
The trip was not without hiccup, as when the local trainer arrived back at the port, he was advised that due to high winds the ferry was not taking livestock and was forced to return and stable the horse at the racecourse overnight and return on Sunday.
Christie, who sent out three horses to place in the Foxhunters feature, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the lads that own him – they were all here for a day out at Aintree and the horse won for them! They have had several horses with me, including ‘On The Sod’ and really enjoy their racing. I bought the horse by chance privately from Willie Mullins after he wasn’t sold at the sales.
“The Festival in March would be the target and I’ll try to keep him sweet and ticking over until then. I might even give him a run over fences, as he’ll not be easy to place after Aintree. Really, I was hoping to get him qualified for the final and we won, but Jonathan (Moore) rode him exactly to instructions – he was brilliant on him.”
Meanwhile, at Navan on Sunday, Northern trainers continued to make their mark when the Brian Hamilton trained, ‘Easca Peasca’ (8s to 6/1) claimed the handicap hurdle with Shane Fitzgerald aboard. Ridden patiently, the Downpatrick horse was always handy prior to jumping into the lead at the penultimate flight and keeping on bravely to hold the challenge of ‘Cotteemcavennigoal’ in a photo finish by a neck, with favourite ‘Brides Hill’ in third.
Hamilton said: “He stayed at it well and he jumped really well. I was a bit concerned that he might be a bit novicey on his first run in a handicap, but Shane got him into a lovely rhythm and he jumped beautifully for him the whole way. He might step up and try and get a little bit of black-type with him at some stage. He’s tough out and a lovely horse to work with.
“John Oxx sold him to us and what he said about him was 100 per cent right. He told us he was a lovely little horse with great character, and that’s exactly what he is, he’s a wee superstar of a horse. He’s a great horse for a small trainer like me to have, as he never runs a bad race. The syndicate are a good bunch of lads, including the chairman of Downpatrick racecourse, Peter Stewart and they are local to me in Downpatrick.”