Ballyoisin successfully defended his crown in the Fortria Chase at Navan on Sunday.

Enda Bolger’s charge was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Grade 2 contest 12 months ago, but returned on something of a recovery mission following a couple of disappointing recent efforts over hurdles.

With last season’s Arkle Trophy hero Duc Des Genievres and fellow Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard among his four rivals, Ballyoisin was third in the betting at 9/2 under Mark Walsh – but once again he dominated from the front.

Some fine leaps kept the pressure on those in behind – and once Duc Des Genievres weakened quickly out of contention from the home turn, it was left to 5/4 favourite A Plus Tard to throw down the challenge to the JP McManus-owned leader.

But he could never quite get on terms, and there were two and three-quarter lengths between the pair at the line.

Bolger said: “That was nice. We thought we had fitness on our side, but I was just a bit scared that the ground might be a bit too heavy for him. He bossed it all the way, and his jumping again was his forte.

“I don’t know where we’re going to go next with him. We went on to Leopardstown last year, and it didn’t work out. He may be just put away for the spring. We’ll see what the boss and Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) say.

“A place like here is up his alley, with the line of fences down the back. I thought Leopardstown would really suit him, with the good ground, but it didn’t go his way last year.

“They are good horses in behind him there today, and he had 11st 10lb as well. It was a good performance all around.”


Owner J.P. McManus had two other very smart winners on the card in Fakir D'Oudairies and Andy Dufresne.

Fakir D’oudairies saw off dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon to make a successful start to his career over fences.

The Willie Mullins-trained Melon was the 9/10 favourite for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase, with Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D’oudairies the clear danger at 2/1 – receiving a handy 8lb allowance as the only four-year-old in the field.

Fourth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, before filling the runner-up spot in Grade 1 company at Aintree and Punchestown, Fakir D’oudairies was particularly impressive in the jumping department in the hands of Mark Walsh.

Having cut out much of the running, the younger horse was tracked into the straight by Melon and Paul Townend, but found plenty for pressure to win the argument by three lengths.

O’Brien said: “He was a decent horse last year and he loves that bit of juice in the ground. I’m delighted to see him jump so well. He was a good jumper at home, obviously, but they have to go and do it. He’s a very exciting horse.

“He could go for the Drinmore or something. He doesn’t have to go further than two miles, but I’m fairly confident he’ll stay further.”

Andy Dufresne maintained his unbeaten record with a foot-perfect display in the P.S. Supplies Doors & Floors Maiden Hurdle.

A £330,000 purchase for his leading owner after winning a point-to-point, Gordon Elliott’s inmate could not have been more impressive on his debut under rules in a Down Royal bumper in late January.

Making his first appearance since, the 9/10 favourite jumped slickly from the front and readily pulled 11 lengths clear of eventual runner-up Cobbler’s Way.

Elliott said: “He’s a nice horse. He did everything right, and Mark said he showed loads of pace. He said you could even bring him back to two miles.

“He’s in the Royal Bond in Fairyhouse – obviously I have to talk to Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) and all the lads.”


The Ross O’Sullivan-trained Theatre World justified 7/2 favouritism in the Handicap Hurdle under Luke Dempsey.

“That’s great. He’s improved again,” said O’Sullivan. "He’ll jump a fence soon – he’s a real three-mile chaser.”

Gary McGill’s Dollys Destination (8/1) benefited from an ice-cool ride from 5lb claimer Conor Orr in the Hotel Park St Johann Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle – coming from a long way back to win decisively at the line.

“We thought we’d come down here today, and we’d have been happy with fifth or sixth, but she flew home,” said McGill.

“We actually thought we’d run today, see how we go and then come back here in two weeks’ time. Hopefully that’ll be the plan.”

Noel Meade’s Joshua Webb was a 10/1 winner of the concluding bumper, with 7lb claimer Eoin Walsh doing the steering.