Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 17 December 2017

Dancera takes spoils in style

Thomas Kelly

IT proved a good session for punters at Kilbeggan last night as two significant gambles hit the bookies hard.

Dancera landed some hefty bets in the featured Mullingar Handicap Hurdle. Backed into 3/1 before the off, Mervyn Torrens' mare ultimately took the spoils in good style under Paul Townend.

Her task was made a shade easier when The Rocking Dock pulled up early and Dancera took it up two out before digging deep under a strong drive to beat Duers by six lengths.

Conor O'Dwyer saddled his second winner of the season when his D Four Dave justified heavy support (14/1 in the morning into 5/1) to take the Hurley Family Handicap Hurdle.

Under a well-judged ride from Mark Walsh, D Four Dave led from three out before eventually recording a seven-length win. "He handled the ground well but I've no plans from here," said O'Dwyer. "His part-owner, Douglas Taylor, was married on Saturday so today will help pay for that party!"

Moi Desire (4/1) made a successful return to the NH sphere in the opening maiden hurdle. Only third on the Flat since landing a Wexford bumper in May, Eoin Griffin's mare was given a patient ride by Barry Geraghty, who kicked on heading into the straight and held off the staying-on Gentle Noel.

An enterprising ride from Pat Kennedy saw 33/1 outsider Frankford edge out Aughwilliam Lady in the T & V Novice Hurdle. Claiming rider Kennedy pushed Frankford into a commanding lead from the outset and looked to have his rivals in trouble at the halfway stage.

Aughwilliam Lady went in pursuit three hurdles out and looked to be closing as the long-time leader began to tire, but Frankford had enough in the tank to repel his nearest challenger by four and a half lengths.

Meanwhile, Philip Fenton would "certainly think" about running Dunguib in next year's Royal Ascot Gold Cup -- as long as conditions are suitable.

This year's renewal of the Group One prize went to the Dermot Weld-trained Rite Of Passage, a horse Dunguib beat by over 10 lengths in the 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Dunguib won four of his six starts in his debut season over hurdles but suffered defeats at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals.

Fenton has consequently decided his stable star turn will make a late start to his next campaign in a bid to have him at the peak of his powers in the spring.

"Our plan is to start him off around Christmas time and hopefully he will be at his best around Cheltenham and Punchestown, rather than going off the boil," Fenton said.

Irish Independent

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