Friday 17 November 2017

Fenton cautious ahead of long-awaited Dunguib return

Brian O'Connell rides Dunguib
Brian O'Connell rides Dunguib

Thomas Kelly

Dunguib is set for his first appearance in the best part of three years in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas on Saturday.

So impressive in winning the 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and a dual Grade One scorer over hurdles the following season, Dunguib's career has been blighted by injury since the spring of 2010.

He missed much of the next campaign before making a winning return in the Red Mills Hurdle and finishing eighth behind Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion Hurdle.

He has not been seen in action since and considering he has recently turned 11, it is not surprising trainer Philip Fenton expects his charge to need the run in this weekend's Grade Three contest.

Fenton said: "He's obviously been off the track a good while and we'll just be glad to get him back. He'll be well in need of his first run and we'll just have to see how he goes before we make any plans for the future."

Dunguib features among 15 possible runners, with Willie Mullins responsible for seven entries. The champion trainer has entered Blood Cotil, Drive Time, Marito, Mikael D'Haguenet, Mourad, Turban and Upsie.

Mouse Morris also has a strong hand, with Baily Green, Rathlin and Rule The World in the mix.

The Woodlands Park 100 Novice Chase is another fascinating contest, with 12 horses in contention for the Grade Two heat.

Mullins has Mozoltov and recent Limerick winner The Paparrazi Kid engaged, with Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack, Morris' Rogue Angel and Sizing Gold from Henry de Bromhead's yard other notable entries.

Meanwhile, Mullins appears to be preparing another assault on this weekend's British action with entries at both of the principal Saturday meetings at Ascot and Haydock.

Ireland's champion trainer stated his intentions at the start of the campaign to send more of his horses on their travels and has been as good as his word, saddling runners at Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham, Kempton, Newbury and Warwick this term.

While he will not be represented in the showpiece Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot, Mullins has made entries in other races on the card, with Supreme Carolina in both the Mares' Hurdle and the Keltbray Holloway's Hurdle.

Mullins also has Clonard Lad and Marito engaged in the latter event, in which David Pipe could saddle exciting French recruit Un Temps Pour Tout, although he has alternative entries at Taunton and Haydock.

Paul Nicholls' Triumph Hurdle favourite Calipto is among the potential starters in the Ascot Racecourse Juvenile Hurdle.

Ascot's clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "I haven't spoken to Willie yet, but he supported us at our last meeting and hopefully he will again.

"The Clarence House Chase looks good with Sire De Grugy and Somersby in there, as well as a couple of Irish horses.

"The ground is soft at the moment and there is quite an unsettled forecast, but nothing of any great concern."

Mullins has entries in two of the feature events at Haydock. Marito and Blood Cotil have an option in the Champion Hurdle Trial, while Valseur Lido, Sure Reef and Sizing Tennessee are among the 13 entries for the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle.

Turban is a fifth Haydock entry for the master of Closutton in the Golborne Graduation Chase.

Also possibly bound for the Champion Hurdle Trial is Jeremy Scott's stable star Melodic Rendezvous, which disappointed in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time out.

Irish Independent

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