Fenton reveals Dunguib 'absolutely motoring' ahead of festival
IRISH Cheltenham banker Dunguib only needs to scope clear tomorrow morning to complete his festival preparations in public on Sunday at Leopardstown.
Already a best-priced 1/3 chance for the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, Philip Fenton's hugely talented Presenting gelding had what this former champion amateur termed "just a simple breeze over five furlongs" yesterday morning.
Regular young rider Brian O'Connell was on board at trainer Fenton's South Tipperary base for this gentle exercise routine that followed on from a more strenuous workout a week ago at Tipperary racecourse.
"Everything's fine. The horse is fresh and well and absolutely motoring. He runs on Sunday once he scopes right before declaration time on Friday morning," explained Fenton, who is adamant he has no intention of pitching his charge into the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle cauldron next month.
"Waiting for next year's Champion Hurdle is the sensible thing to do. The plan has always been to take in the Deloitte Hurdle before going for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham and it looks like that still."
O'Connell's mount will face a maximum of eight rivals, and probably a few less, in the two and a quarter miles Deloitte promotion, with the Willie Mullins pair Fionnegas and Morning Supreme looking the pick of them.
However, there are much greater expectations surrounding this pair's stable companion Cooldine, which continues to attract money, both for Sunday's featured Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup and the Totesport Gold Cup at Cheltenham, despite his poor effort at the Dublin course in the Lexus Chase.
Last season's RSA Chase victor in the Cotswolds was cut again yesterday by Paddy Power and William Hill for the Hennessy as well as for the later Gold Cup outright and, indeed, without Kauto Star and Denman.
Cooldine is as low now as 6/4 with Powers to bounce back to winning form at the Foxrock venue, while they have trimmed his Blue Riband odds by four points to 12/1 and he's only 3/1 in the 'without two' market.
Hills reacted to consistent interest since the weekend by halving the eight-year-old's price to 7/4; offer 14/1 (from 20/1) for a successful Gold Cup outcome and 7/2 if you eliminate Kauto Star and Denman.
Nevertheless, Paul Nicholls' strong hand for the festival show-piece -- Kauto Star, Denman, What A Friend, Taranis and My Will -- means Hills are only 5/1 about him making it a Gold Cup 1-2-3.