RICHARD Fahey equalled retired trainer Richard Hannon snr’s record of 235 winners in a calendar year thanks to a Lingfield double through Gabrial The Hero and Luis Vaz De Torres.
Luis Vaz De Torres secured that important landmark victory under in-form Tony Hamilton, who had chalked up 100 winners in a season for the first time when successful on Gabrial The Hero earlier in the card.
Malton-based Fahey has three runners at Southwell today as he goes in pursuit of the outright record.
“It’s grand. I can’t believe it. It’s a huge amount of winners, but I’ve got a good team behind me,” he said. “Tony’s reached 100 winners, so it’s a good day for everybody. It would be great if we could beat the record. We’ll be trying anyway.”
Meanwhile, Bryan Cooper atoned for Don Cossack’s misfortune in Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase when partnering Don Poli to a hard-fought win in yesterday’s Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Victorious earlier this month at Aintree, the grinding manner of this latest win suggested that Don Poli – last season’s RSA Chase hero – is more likely to be aimed at next year’s Grand National in preference to the blue riband Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It was a landmark first win in this prestigious race for Ireland’s multiple champion trainer Willie Mullins, who said: “He always just does what he has to do and in those conditions things are very tough.
“He probably got a bit tired but when the others came to him kept pulling it out. It’s hard to know how good he is and how much more he has to produce but I was very happy. Bryan said he thought he was in trouble going to the last but he picked up again when they came and went on again.”