TRAINER Eoin McCarthy is a shrewd operator with his string in Athea, Co Limerick, and he might now also be one of the most in-demand Cheltenham Festival preview night panellists for 2025 after pulling off a cracking charity bet ahead of this year’s meeting.

As part of a preview at Christy’s ‘The Well’ Bar in Listowel, McCarthy made hay with his free charity bet courtesy of BoyleSports.

The trainer explained: “I’ve been doing the preview night in Listowel for five years and at the end of the night, the panellists received a €100 charity bet. The other lads went with singles but when I put on a €50 each-way accumulator, they were laughing at me because I had three odds-on chances!

“My odds-on winners were Lossiemouth, Fact To File and Ballyburn but I also put in Protektorat [who won the Ryanair Chase at 10/1] and Lark In The Mornin [who won the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at 8/1]. With one horse left to run, it was all rolling on to Brighterdaysahead in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle but the charity was getting a ‘cash-out’ for €17,000 before the race, so opted for it instead of €36,000 if she had won.

“If she had been beaten they’d have won nothing and finishing second or third would have won only €800, so it was a fair touch as Brighterdaysahead finished second. The charity is the Kerry Parents and Friends Association, who look after older disabled people and are delighted.”