Dunguib looks another fairytale in the making for trainer Philip Fenton

Heavy ground was never a problem for the former triple Grade One winner

Dunguib: can €40,000 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

Dunguib: can €40,000 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 01:00


Last Instalment completed a fairytale comeback result in last weekend’s Hennessy Gold Cup and while such fairytale results are by definition rare, plenty will hope his stable-companion Dunguib can perform a similar feat at Navan tomorrow.

The horse that was once the most exciting National Hunt prospect in the country lines up in the €40,000 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle – one of a trio of Grade Two races on the card – and will undoubtedly be the sentimental favourite on view.

If trainer Philip Fenton can get Dunguib back to winning form it will be a result to rank alongside Last Instalment’s because the veteran former triple Grade One winner was almost three years on the injury sidelines – a year longer than Last Instalment – before returning to action at Naas almost a month ago.

In the circumstances, Dunguib ran a fine race to finish third to Rule The World and Jennies Jewel under an understandably considerate Brian O’Connell ride. Fenton conjured huge improvement out of Last Instalment after his first start back and Dunguib should certainly strip a lot sharper for that outing.

Crucially, even in his Cheltenham bumper and novice hurdles pomp, heavy ground was never a problem for Dunguib and it could help him narrow the gap on Jennies Jewel as well as allow him take advantage of any weaknesses in the opposition.

At his best Zaidpour could be fancied to successfully concede weight all round but he ran an atrocious race at Gowran last time in the Galmoy and his best form overall does seem to come pre-Christmas, while Bog Warrior is declared over fences today.

The decision to skip the Flyingbolt Chase with the Arkle favourite Champagne Fever is hardly surprising and it looks to leave the race open for Mallowney.

Tim Doyle’s charge was running a fine race when crashing out at the second last in the Leopardstown Arkle won by Trifolium, has winning form on very testing ground, and this race looks a perfect fit for a horse described by Doyle as a “real two-miler.”

Willie Mullins said yesterday Champagne Fever is likely to go straight to the festival and added: “We’re leaning towards the Arkle with him but have made no decision. I’d imagine we’ll give him a racecourse gallop somewhere in the meantime.”

In Cheltenham terms, the appearance of Foxrock in the Ten Up Chase looks of primary interest tomorrow. Currently a 6-1 favourite for the four-mile National Hunt Chase, Foxrock also holds an RSA entry and comes here on the back of a Grade Two win at Navan over Sizing Gold.

Raw stamina won him the day on that occasion but Sizing Gold was a patent non-stayer at Naas and taking very short odds about My Murphy and the Troytown winner Cootamundra being similarly shaken off by Foxrock could be a mistake.

My Murphy especially has seven lengths to make up on Foxrock from the Fort Leney at Christmas but has a 4lb swing and will relish a slog-fest in a race that may represent his career Gold Cup.

Vivega has yet to make an appearance on a racecourse but is already as low as 20/1 for the Bumper at Cheltenham so there will be considerable expectation around Willie Mullins’s newcomer in the finale.

Mullins will be a major player in the maiden hurdle with Daneking, beaten by Waxies Dargle at Fairyhouse on his last start, and who had previously run into a good one in Western Boy at Leopardstown.