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Christie's 40/1 shot is just outfoxed at finish line

 

By Ron McKnight

The two Ulster contenders in yesterday's Aintree first day featured Foxhunters did the province proud. The David Christie trained Darwins Fox looked a possible 40/1 winner. However, a three length lead going to the last fence disappeared after a mistake and the Fermanagh trained horse then hung badly left towards loose horses just prior to the elbow to finish sixth just behind Mendip Express.

The pair, separated by a head, are owned by Ulsterman David Maxwell who partnered the latter himself with Barry O'Neill aboard the Derrylin trained horse.

The strongly supported Balnaslow finished like a train to fill second place for County Antrim trainer Graham McKeever with Irish Champion amateur rider Derek O'Connor in the saddle.

O'Connor said: "He was slowly away and it took a mile to get him into a rhythm after that."

The runner-up, owned by Ballyclare's Peggy O'Hagan, had also ran very well at the Cheltenham Festival before yesterday's effort and will now be aimed at the Champion Hunterchase at the Punchestown Festival.

Top Templepatrick producer of young National Hunt talent Wilson Dennison saw another of his prospects Flying Angel, with Noel Fehily in the saddle, win the opening Manifesto Novice Chase.

Dennison sold the horse to friend and regular customer, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies who was searching for a good horse that was unnamed and had not run. Flying Angel supplied the answer.

The Ulster 'go to' man for big race winners has graduates on day two at Aintree, namely Crievehill (1.40), Ballykhan and Straidnahanna (4.05) and Ballymalin (4.40).

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