Wednesday 7 December 2016

Vincent Hogan: Tale of agony amid the ecstasy

Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00

Dunguib, with Brian O'Connell up, started the Supreme Novices Hurdle as favourite, but finished a disappointing third
Dunguib, with Brian O'Connell up, started the Supreme Novices Hurdle as favourite, but finished a disappointing third

Philip Fenton clasped his hands in priestly calm and began assembling his thoughts like wreaths on a grave.

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People crowded him with kindnesses, but you knew their words couldn't reach him. His gaze seemed to drift beyond the rear husk of the grandstand and away up to where a single jet-steam cut across the West Country sky. "Sure there'll be other days" he murmured, to no one in particular.

This isn't a place for soft landings, not when you come here as virtual guardian of a sacred object and leave it with a beaten horse. Dunguib's story may, in time, gather fresh glory and it won't have been lost on Fenton that the two marquee victories of a dramatic opening day -- Sizing Europe in the Irish Independent Arkle and Binocular in the Champion Hurdle -- would, essentially, be redemption songs.

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