Bill Porter on track for success
Leading Ulster owner Bill Porter went oh so close at Punchestown yesterday with Keep On Track, while local trainer Sammy Wilson registered success with Hurricane Ivan at Sedgefield.
Hurricane Ivan was making his debut for Wilson having been previously trained by his owner Fergal O'Brien.
The Ballygowan handler had two runners in the handicap hurdle with Robyn Rua the more fancied of the pair in the betting but Ivan, with Ulster rider Peter Buchanan aboard, was always handy moving second at the penultimate flight prior to leading at the last to score easily.
The local handler only has a small team in training including Court Jester which failed to land a gamble when denied in a photo finish at Down Royal in February but gained compensation for connections next time out at Navan when again supported to favouritism.
Porter was denied a dream result when Keep On Track had to settle for second in the prestigious La Touche Cup at Punchestown behind Jacks Island, ridden by Ger Fox.
The local owner and house builder has numerous horses in training with Enda Bolger, and is a keen supporter of point to points and national hunt, especially the cross country contests.
Porter said: "I'm delighted with the run. I'm still very keen to have a runner in the Pardubicka Chase in the Czech Republic (the renowned race similar to the cross country chases staged at Punchestown and Cheltenham).
"Perhaps this is the horse for the job as he loves the cross country races and Brian (Linehan) again gave him a smashing ride."
Keep On Track, following victory in a Downpatrick hunter chase, won a handicap chase at Punchestown last year .
While the Pardubicka Chase was mentioned after the win at Downpatrick, Keep On Track was at that stage not rated highly enough to gain entry.
Jacks Island's trainer John Kenny said: "He's an 11-year-old and there's nothing much else for him, so he'll probably come back here on Saturday if he's sound."