Roger that as 'Run' scores for Fahey
Roger Loughran finds rides hard to come by but was seen to superb effect at Cheltenham yesterday aboard the Peter Fahey-trained Peregrine Run.
The gelding made it four wins on the bounce when holding off Wholestone to win the Neptune Novices' Hurdle. Given a confident ride by Loughran, the 13/2 chance found extra with the rail to help.
Loughran, who plays a huge role behind the scenes with Sandra Hughes, said: "He really pulled it out for me; I had a very willing partner. He's a proper horse and he's done it well. Peter is a gentleman to ride for."
Fahey, having his first jumps horse to score in Britain, has already had as many winners this season as any other. "You'd like to be dreaming about coming back here in March," he said.
Tudor City looked certain to make it a second Irish winner in the novice handicap hurdle, having struck the front at the last under Davy Russell, only to find far less than the rallying winner, 16/1 poke Wildmoor Boy.
The Barry Murphy-trained Pairofbrowneyes went closer again, beaten a head by the ex-Irish Un Beau Roman in the BetVictor Handicap Chase. A blunder four out was critical.
The race of most long-term consequence produced a rather unsatisfactory outcome. Ben Pauling took a gamble in pitching Barters Hill into a race as hot as the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase but the injury that befell the horse might just have easily happened in lesser company.
Upsides at the third, the hot favourite slipped the tendon off his hock. "We are all devastated but he will be back to fight another day," said Pauling. "It's not career-ending but he will need a certain amount of time off. Whether he's back this season depends on how severe it is."
Even had he stayed on his feet, Barters Hill may have struggled to deal with O O Seven, the 9/2 winner which bolted up for Nico de Boinville and Nicky Henderson despite hanging right up the hill.
De Boinville said: "Firstly to Ben Pauling and all the team, it's devastating for them; I feel for them. Today was all about O O Seven. It was a smashing performance from a remarkable horse."
Sky Bet made the winner 16/1 for the JLT Novice Chase in March.
Realt Mor gave it a good go for Gordon Elliott in the veterans' handicap chase but it was left to seasonal debutant Astracad and Ericht to fight it out, the former staying on best under Jamie Bargary.
Likely few smiled more last night, however, than Loughran, who was thinking of departed friend. "I hope my old boss Dessie Hughes would be very proud of me today," he said. "I won Grade Ones on Schindlers Hunt and a Galway Plate. They were great days," he reflected, "but so is this."
Dessie, who had plenty of those, would not disagree.