In a walk of life dominated by men, it tells you much about the rider who won one of the most exacting steeplechases of the year at Fairyhouse yesterday that her gender only became obvious once she had pulled up – when congratulated by her rivals with hugs and kisses, rather than handshakes.
Nina Carberry's success in the Irish Grand National reiterated her status as the woman who has come closest to achieving authentic equality with male jump jockeys. For some years already no sensible trainer, or punter, will have considered a horse's chance remotely diluted by relying on Carberry against even the best of the men. And there may now be some wondering whether she can play the role of knight in shining armour, riding to the rescue of a sport in distress.
As one of only two six-year-olds in the field, Organisedconfusion has plenty of time on his side if he is to graduate – like several other key Aintree protagonists in recent years – from this race to one that suddenly finds itself badly in need of some kind of romantic renewal. Carberry certainly has every right to become the first woman to win the Grand National, and the improvement made by her mount for a huge step up in distance yesterday suggests she may well have found a competent partner in that quest. That Organisedconfusion is trained by her uncle, Arthur Moore, will hardly weaken the sentimental appeal of their story. Moore, of course, is one of the most respected horsemen in Ireland; and had previously won yesterday's race both as a jockey, back in 1971, and as a trainer in 1996.
"It's a great family occasion, with Nina on board," he said. "He's a lovely horse, so laid-back. We were a bit worried with him only being six, but he has a great engine and a fantastic temperament."
The winner lacks experience for Aintree, but won off just 9st 13lbs yesterday so can at least be campaigned over fences next winter without especially endangering his chance at the weights. He proved very much at home with a marathon distance on spring ground. On a day of warm sunshine, Deal Done opened up a big lead over the first circuit and, though joined a mile out, made a brave bid to go clear again from the home turn. But his tank quickly ran dry two out, where Carberry produced Organisedconfusion going strongly. Escorted by a loose horse on the run-in, they saw off Western Charmer by five lengths, with the heavily backed British raider, Sunnyhillboy, another length away in third.
While this horse prospered for a step up in trip, a reverse strategy did not pay off for one of the most accomplished thoroughbreds on the planet a few hours earlier. Presvis, having added to his hoard of overseas earnings in Dubai last month, was dropped to a mile for another valuable prize in Hong Kong but was not rewarded by the stronger pace connections were entitled to expect. As such, though Ryan Moore again managed to weave Presvis through the field along the rail, he still had a length and a half to find as five horses finished clustered in front of him. These were headed by Xtension, who was exported to Hong Kong after making his name on these shores with Clive Cox, notably when third in the 2009 Dewhurst.
Frankel, who won that race last autumn, dominates 15 acceptors for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. As expected, David Simcock has scratched Dream Ahead, for whom conditions will remain too fast despite the chance of overdue showers.
* Chris McGrath's Nap
Piment d'Estruval (2.50 Exeter)
Has taken well to fences for his new stable and travelled best for a long way until fading over a longer trip at Stratford last time.
Asraab (4.10 Yarmouth)
Remains with the potential to prove better than this, beaten only a neck despite meeting traffic when heavily backed for his first handicap.
One to watch
Crown Choice (Walter Swinburn) has often looked worth a try in sprints and charged home for a third place off a slow pace when resurfacing over 6f at Pontefract last week.
Where the money's going
Vadamar, trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, is 20-1 from 25-1 with Totesport for the Investec Derby, while Hooray is 9-1 from 10-1 for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas on Sunday.