LIMERICK traditional St Stephen's Day racing fixture at Greenmount Park was staged behind-closed-doors this year.
The card traditionally kicks-off the four-day Limerick Christmas Racing Festival and attracts a bumper attendance to the Patrickswell venue.
However, this year the grandstands remained emptied at Limerick Racecourse bar a few dozen trainers and stable staff who watched the races nervously due to Coronavirus-19 pandemic.
The feature race on the card and of the week, the €80,000 Grade 1 Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novice Chase, was won by top trainer Willie Mullins, but not with his most fancied running in the betting market.
Colreevy, at 5/1, battled strongly to take the top prize after odds-on favourite Asterion Forlonge had departed the race when falling down the back straight.
Colreevy, under jockey Danny Mullins, survived a mistake at the second last fence before recovering to score from 13/2 shot Pencilfulloflead.
Limerick owner JP McManus enjoyed success at his local track on the opening day of the Festival when his famed green and gold hooped colours were carried to success by Shadow Rider in the Eden Capital Maiden Hurdle for trainer Willie Mullins.
The 2/5 favourite, under jockey Mark Walsh, proved eight length too good for runner-up Eye Van.
The opening race on the St Stephen's Day card sprang a huge shock as 100/1 shot Awkwafina claimed the Geary's Garage Kilmeedy 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle for trainer Sam Curling and jockey Philip Enright. The winner had a neck to spare over odds-on favourite Palm Beach on the line.
Meanwhile, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board announced this afternoon that, due to an adverse weather forecast, which includes a Status Yellow rainfall warning, there will be an 8am precautionary inspection at Limerick Racecourse tomorrow morning, December 27, to determine if racing will go ahead.
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