Doctor Phoenix produces career-best run at Fairyhouse
Victory in Dan Moore Memorial completes double for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell
Davy Russell partnered Mitchouka to victory at Fairyhouse. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Doctor Phoenix produced a career-best performance to win the Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse.
Having just his fourth run for Gordon Elliott since being bought by Nicky Bradley Racing for only €10,000, he looks a bigger bargain than ever now.
Second on his debut for the yard at Cork in October, he then won at the Mallow venue a month later before a bad mistake cost him any chance at Fairyhouse in December.
Nursed into the race inside the final three furlongs in typical Davy Russell style, he bounded clear after the last to beat Kilcarry Bridge, who tried to make all the running, by nine lengths.
Russell said: “He was a great purchase by Mouse O’Ryan and the team.
“The ease in the ground and the good gallop helped but I had a job to get by John Ryan’s horse [Kilcarry Bridge].
“He’s won a big pot now so they can’t complain about much.”
The 13-2 chance, who holds an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, completed a Fairyhouse double for Elliott and Russell after the earlier victory of Mitchouka.
The four-year-old defied a penalty to beat stablemate Veneer Of Charm in the Promote Your Business At Fairyhouse In 2018 Hurdle.
The winner was paying a compliment to Gavin Cromwell’s juvenile Espoir D’Allen, who has beaten Mitchouka on his last two outings.
Nevertheless, Elliott’s four-year-old was winning for the third time this season and the even-money favourite came home eight lengths clear of his stable companion under Russell.
Elliott said: “He’s a grand, honest horse and hasn’t done anything wrong all year.
“He’s probably a horse more for the Fred Winter but as long as he keeps picking up prize-money we’re happy.
“The Fred Winter is only about half a stone between top and bottom now, and you can’t be clever in handicaps there anymore because you won’t get in if you are.
“He’ll be entered in Leopardstown [Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle] and we’ll see where we go.”