Username Password
Click here to go back to previous page
Click to go: Racing / News Articles

Frances keeps Houlahan flag flying at Warrnambool

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 1 May 2003:

Frances Houlahan became the third member of her family to train a winner of the $120,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) at Warrnambool when Sampan Man was victorious in the marathon feature today.

Houlahan is the daughter of legendary jumps trainer Jim Houlahan who has won four Grand Annuals, while her brother Mark trained So And So to win the race in 1978.

Sampan Man, a seven-year-old gelding by At Talaq, is leased by Houlahan and her husband Brian Johnston.

But when the horse first arrived at her Mornington stables from Bega she almost sent him back to the owner.

"He was only 15.2 hands but he had a good head and shoulder and I thought he's here now so we might as well give him a go," Houlahan said.

The gelding's first big test came in a Yarra Glen point-to-point and she said she would have sacked him if he didn't win.

A lot of planning went into winning the Grand Annual with Sampan Man who won a steeple at Warrnambool in September 2001 before going out for a spell.

Last year he finished third in the race behind Hibernian Prince and Crafty Dancer.

"He came into work the same day and we followed the same plan as last year and luckily he got in with a nice weight," Houlahan said.

Sampan Man gave cross-country jockey Adrian Garraway his first Grand Annual success.

Garraway had the `chaser handy to the leaders throughout in fourth or fifth spot and after racing to the front after the Tozer Road double the last time around he kicked clear and was never headed, scoring by 3-1/4 lengths from Sovereign Ties with topweight and race favourite Crafty Dancer two lengths away third.

Brett Scott, rider of the John Wheeler-trained Crafty Dancer, couldn't believe his eyes when Toughen Up, who had lost his rider earlier in the race, charged across the face of the field after jumping the Tozer Road double, missing his mount by centimetres.

"I could see it coming but I couldn't do anything about it," Scott said.
That incident cost Crafty Dancer valuable ground and probably cost him his chance of winning the race.

Veteran trainer Houlahan was a proud man after his daughter won the prized event.

"I got more out of this than any of my wins," he said.

"She can read horses better than anyone I know."

Fran Houlahan said winning the Grand Annual meant a lot to her.

"It's not a race to be ho-hum about, you can't beat tradition," she said.

"He (Sampan Man) settled beautifully, he's an experienced horse and Adrian is an experienced rider."

Houlahan has had success in other big jumps races in the past including a Hiskens Steeple with Suede Boy in 1981 and an Australian Steeple, but said it had been some years since her last big win.

Among the horses to fail to complete the course were Rowdy Ralph, who lost his rider Paul Graesser during the first lap, Toughen Up, Delete Me Not and Intensive Care who both fell the last of the 33 fences, the latter being killed.


Check out FREE Full Race results for nine separate countries.

News from: Racing / News Articles

Click here to go back to previous page

News Talk is designed for debate, discussion regarding the above News story. We welcome you to submit your comments to News Talk relating to this story.

Your IP has been recorded for our records. This information is not published.
  By posting this message you agree to Disclaimer/Terms of Use.

Last 8 Comments more
Comment on Miracles Of Life team set to part company
• I am probably one of many who cannot understand the head honcho's decision. ... by Mary M
Comment on Lucia Spelled For The Spring
• Surely it's about time Kris Lees came out and stated the obvious, that Hugh ... by Edward66
Comment on Fantastic Finale For The Championships
• do you have any proof re 39% increase in ... by Anonymous
Comment on It's A Dundeel wins Sydney's biggest race
• "Although the Kiwis claim him ...." - who the hell else can? The ghost of Phar ... by Magi
Comment on McDonald Repays Connections With ATC Oaks Win
• Hughie just set LV too much to ... by edward66
Comment on Solicit Cleared For Queen Of The Turf
• Yet another STC race transferred to the AJC. I think it's disgraceful. ... by Richard Skinner
Comment on New Trophies For Championships
• Not the most impressive bit of hardware we have seen grace the winners circle ... by Intrepidarts
Comment on Sacred Falls To Bolster Waikato Stud Roster
• Kiwi's will continue to take the lead in the Group 1's in Oz with the Hunter ... by Anonymous

Top News Tags
Northern Glory
Our Channel
Honey’s Steel Gold
Our Beni Boy
Shiraz Attack
Spirit Of Boom
River Lad
Villa Verde
Calming Influence
Streetcar Valour
Kingston Hill
War Command
J Wonder
Order Of The Sun
Dragon Flyer
Given No Hope
Darci Magic
Bodega Negra
Lankan Rupee
Lord Of The Sky
It Is Written
All Sixes
Arabian King
Hey Mr
Grace With Power
Are You Sure
Stars Over The Sea
Hana’s Goal
Scratch Me Lucky
Makybe Diva

Racing and Sports Racing and Sports Pty Ltd | Contact Us | R&S Terms of Use | R&S Privacy | New Site
This site is maintained by Racing and Sports (®) Pty Ltd (ABN 093 360 108) ("R&S"). Copyright in all R&S materials is owned by Racing and Sports Pty Ltd (R&S). Racing and Sports is a Registered Trademark. R&S takes all care in the preparation of information appearing on the site, but accepts no responsibility nor warrants the accuracy of the information displayed. This information is provided for entertainment purposes only. All information including race fields and TAB numbers should be checked with an official source. (RAS-WWW03) (ADS1)