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2017 Grand National news - On The Fringe aiming for Aintree redemption after Cheltenham disappointment

On The Fringe (left) battling Dineur (right) for the victory in the Foxhunters Chase at Aintree last year.

After falling at the first hurdle on his quest for the triple-triple of festival Foxhunter titles, On The Fringe will return to action at Aintree as he looks to bounce back to winning ways.

On The Fringe created history last season. Enda Bolger’s charge won the Foxhunters races at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Festival for the second year in a row, becoming the first horse ever to land the double-triple of Foxhunters festival titles.

A runner-up finish to Foxrock on his one and only pre-festival prep run was an encouraging start to the season in February and On The Fringe was considered a banker by many to win the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for a third year in a row and get his bid for the triple-triple off to the perfect start.

Enda Bolger’s charge bided his time in the middle of the field – a tactic which had worked brilliantly in 2015 and 2016 – and when the pace of the race began to increase, everyone expected the favourite to make his way to the front of the field and cruise to an expected victory. However, in a week where the tag of favouritism weighted heavier around a horse's neck than any other Cheltenham Festival, this year wasn’t to be On The Fringe’s year. The 12-year-old failed to find another gear and the two-time champion had to settle for fourth, less than three lengths behind Pacha Du Polder, Wonderful Charm and Barel Of Laughs as the winners passed the post.

“Maybe the ground was a little quick for him at Cheltenham.” Said Bolger, when he spoke to RTE over in Ireland. “By the time of the race it had even quickened up from when I walked it in the morning”

"He came back safe and sound which is the main thing. We're only looking forwards now, not back (and) All going well he'll be at Aintree.”

Despite his dreams of the triple-triple now consigned to history, On The Fringe is the stand-out name on the list of 38 runners confirmed in the Foxhunter Chase at the Aintree Festival. He will have to turn the tables on Pacha Du Polder, who produced a brilliant performance at Cheltenham to wrestle the title out of Enda Bolger’s clutches. Other title contenders, like Balnaslow – who finished just behind On the Fringe in fifth at Cheltenham – along with seasoned hunter chase campaigners like Big Fella Thanks, Black Thunder and Grand Vision, will all be out to make sure the favourite doesn’t have things his own way.

Plenty of doubters will be laying On The Fringe after his surprise defeat at Cheltenham, but Enda Bolger has plenty of confidence in his 12-year-old, as On The Fringe seeks redemption and a third-straight Foxhunters Chase victory at Aintree next month.

"He had a lot of ground to make up at Cheltenham and just stayed on one-paced, but at Aintree he seems to be able to go with them early even though it's a shorter trip."

"He does love Aintree, he seems to come alive over those fences so hopefully that is in our favour.”


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2017 Grand National news - On The Fringe aiming for Aintree redemption after Cheltenham disappointment

After falling at the first hurdle on his quest for the triple-triple of festival Foxhunter titles, On The Fringe will return to action at Aintree as he looks to bounce back to winning ways.

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