New Year's Day and the only place to be was the well-appointed BobbyJo Bistro at the traditional 1st January Fairyhouse races.
Quick greetings with a number of Meath trainers including Tony Martin who was quickly off the mark for 2019 with Clementina obliging at reasonable odds in the Donnelly Providers Ratoath Handicap Hurdle.
CLEMENTINA (centre) HAD SOME WORK TO DO AT THE LAST
(PHOTO GERRY SHANAHAN)
All that cheering only added to the appetite and the food and service was excellent while Fairyhouse General Manager Peter Roe provided the tips along with some help from the 'new experts' from the new RACING TV that officially launched today.
According to RACING TV - it is the new home of British and Irish racing, - but as I was actually at Fairyhouse I can't comment on how they fared.
Tony Martin made it into the winners' enclosure, but he wasn't the only Meath success as Gordon Elliott had a double, but he wasn't there.
KIlmessan handler Matthew Smith was there and welcomed yet another winner from his select string of horses to make it two in five days.
A SPECTACULAR LEAP AT THE LAST FOR RONALD (PHOTO GERRY SHANAHAN)
The Gigginstown-owned Swordsman won the opener for Gordon Elliott with Jack Kennedy on board to land the aptly-named Happy New Year from all at Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle.
SWORDSMAN BACK IN THE WINNERS ENCLOSURE
The trainer completed a double at the track when Roaring Bull justified 4/7 in the beginners chase and won well also for Jack Kennedy.
Tony Martin's Clementina finished with a late surge to win the Donnelly Providers Handicap Hurdle with Eoin O'Connell on board - it was a follow up on a win at the track in December.
“I thought she was a good mare a while back and it’s only now that she is beginning to show her worth, she could go for the mares' handicap at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival,” suggested the trainer.
Kilmessan-based Matthew Smith continued his good form as Ronald Pump won the Join Fairyhouse Members Club Handicap Hurdle.
“We’ve had a good Christmas and the horses are running well so hopefully it will continue for another while,” stated Smith.
THE WINNING CONNECTIONS OF RONALD PUMP (PHOTO GERRY SHANAHAN)
PAT HEALY SNAPPED SNAPPING AT FAIRYHOUSE
OTHER RACING TODAY - MEATH WINNERS
Winning at Tramore would have been a bit special for owner Lee Power as the Gordon Elliott-trained Askari won a handicap hurdle with Davy Russell on board.
Power is the man behind the resurgence of local League of Ireland side Waterford FC and the Blues will be back in Europe this year after a good debut 2018 season in the Premier Division.
"It's great for his owner who came over from the UK for the New Year," commented the winning jockey who would be more of a GAA man
than a soccer fan.
Across at Cheltenham there was a real Meath battle in the finish of a novice chase where Robbie Power on board the Colin Tizzard-
trained Lostintranslation got the better of Barry Geraghty on the Philip HObbs-trained Defi Du Seuil.
And finally, Stamullen handler John C McConnell made the trip to Scotland and won the opener at Musselburgh with Hannon.
JOHN C MCCONNELL'S WINNER AT MUSSELBURGH