BoyleSports Irish Grand National Weekend 2015
The Fairyhouse Easter Festival Featuring the BoyleSports Irish Grand National
Monday 6th April 2014
A massive crowd bathed in glorious sunshine enjoyed one of the most exciting Boylesports Irish Grand National finishes for many years at Fairyhouse Racecourse today as they cheered home first time winner lady jockey Katie Walsh on her 20/1 shot mount Thunder and Roses for owner Ryanair maestro Michael O'Leary. The Ryanair boss also owned the second place finisher Rule The World in Ireland's richest jumps race which was a drama filled epic with just nine finishers from a field of 28. The winner was especially popular as it was also the first time as a winner of the great race for trainer Sandra Hughes emulating her late father Dessie who also won the race as a trainer in 2003 with Timbera.
The huge crowd of 16,621 was up on last year's equivalent. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was on hand to present Michael O'Leary's brother Eddie the winning prize of €154,750 in the sun drenched venue where temperatures approached 20 degrees celsius at one stage in the afternoon.
In the main side attraction of the day Store Street based Garda Ciara Murphy from Dunboyne won the Carton House Most Stylish Lady event winning an €8,000 prize package in the competition that had an "Elagantly Irish" theme. Ciara impressed the judges, TV personality Vogue Williams and milliner Jennifer Wrynne, with a Fiona Rafter hat and a monsoon top with a Miss Selfridge bag.
Amongst the crowd enjoying the Fairyhouse spectacle were Ireland and Leinster rugby centre and out-half Ian Madigan, former politician and Newstalk broadcaster Ivan Yates, Minister of State Tom Hayes, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala who also presented retiring legend AP McCoy with a specially commissioned frame 'wordle' print highlighting every winner the great jockey rode in Ireland since he started riding here in 1992.
Fairyhouse General Manager said "We had a fantastic weekend which was buoyed by the sunshine and the 'AP Effect' as this this is the legendary jockey's last time to ride in Ireland. It was a huge bonus to have lady jockey Katie Walsh beat all the men and take the Boylesports Irish Grand National for Michael O'Leary and trainer Sandra Hughes who had her first winner here last year when she took up the reins from her late father Dessie. The crowds on both days of our Easter meeting were up on last year and they were certainly spoiled by the Mediterranean like weather which really added to the occasion. It's an honour to have AP McCoy ride for the last time with us here in Fairyhouse tomorrow and we'll never see the likes of this sporting legend ever again."
Liam Glynn from Boylesports said "The Boylesports Irish Grand National yet again produced a fairytale story with Katie Walsh winning on 'Thunder and Roses' and putting a hole in punters pockets. Overall turnover on the race has exceeded last years and the entire meeting has produced so many emotional moments including the goodbye of the Champion AP McCoy on Irish soil."