NEWS: Enda Bolger’s 12-year-old, On The Fringe will be back again this season, targeting to win Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown for an incredible sixth time later this month.

The 12-year-old’s status as one of the greatest hunter chasers of the modern era is already assured after having completed the Cheltenham-Aintree-Punchestown treble in both 2015 and 2016.

He also won at Punchestown in 2010, 2011 and 2014, but the current campaign has not gone to plan thus far.

The JP McManus-owned veteran looked well placed for the spring Festivals following a promising comeback at Leopardstown in February, but he could only finish fourth at in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham and was pulled up after an early mistake in the Foxhunters’ Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree last week.

Bolger said: “He came back from Aintree safe and sound, but obviously it was very disappointing on the day.

“He just stood too far off at The Chair and that was it. He was brought to a standstill and that was his race over then.

“Jamie (Codd) did the right thing by pulling up, rather than putting the boot down, and he seems in good form since.

“We’ll move on to the race at Punchestown. He’s won it five times before and if we left him at home he’d wonder what was going on!”

Although On The Fringe is in the twilight of his career, Bolger has no thoughts of retiring his charge at this stage.

Asked whether Punchestown could be his swansong, the trainer said: “I don’t think so. This season has been a bit disappointing, but we have to tell ourselves he was beaten less than three lengths at Cheltenham on ground that was drying all day. If the ground had been a bit slower they’d have come back to him sooner and who knows what would have happened?

“It was a shame what happened at Aintree, but he seems in great form at home and hopefully we’ll get him back on track at Punchestown.

“We just haven’t had the rub of the green this year.”


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