Champion Hurdle Next For Dunguib

William Hill

Tagged under: 3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

2009 Champion Bumper winner Dunguib entered the Champion Hurdle picture when finally getting his season underway in Gowran Park's Red Mills Trial Hurdle.

The eight-year-old had not seen a racecourse since finishing a disappointing sixth behind Hurricane Fly at the Punchestown Festival last April, and trainer Philip Fenton was desperate to get a run into the son of Presenting, prior to a possible tilt at next month's championship event.

Faced with only two rivals in the two-mile Grade 2 contest, Dunguib raced a bit keen early on and was far from convincing at his hurdles, but once the pace quickened Brian O'Connell's mount pinged the final two flights and comfortably held the race-fit Luska Lad with Gimli's Rock a well beaten last of three.

Bookmaker reaction was to cut last years' Supreme Novices' third from 20/1 to 12/1, although 14/1 is available with totesport, Coral and William Hill.

After today's race a relieved Fenton explained the horses' lack of recent action, saying:" He was a sick horse five weeks ago and every week since we could see improvement in him. We had plenty of work done but we were aiming more at getting him back to full health rather than full fitness.

" He's absolutely A1 and he'll freshen up for a couple of days. You couldn't complain with that. It was just what the doctor ordered.

" The Champion is three weeks on Tuesday. He should be fine and he doesn't need a great deal of work anyhow."

O'Connell came in for a lot of criticism for the ride he gave Dunguib ( the supposed banker of the meeting ) at last years' Festival, but with expectations not so great this time around, the jockey should be able to ride a more confident race, and of those at a double figure price is the most likely to pose a serious threat to the likes of Binocular and Hurricane Fly.

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