Thursday 18 January 2018

Townend facing spell out after heavy tumble

Paul Townend is facing a spell on the sidelines after fracturing his left collarbone in a fall at Navan.

The rider, who is currently leading the race for the Irish jockeys' title, sustained the injury when his mount Indian Buck fell fatally in the concluding Headfort Handicap Chase.

Townend is nine wins ahead of Davy Russell in the championship battle, but that rival is also out of action at the moment after suffering a bruised wrist.

Earlier at the meeting, Hughies Grey booked his ticket for next month's Ladbrokes Irish Grand National with a Grade Two victory in the Webster Cup Chase. The seven-year-old was successful over three and a half miles in the Ulster National last time, but he tackled a mile shorter trip this time.

"It's onwards and upwards for Hughies Grey from here and we'll aim him at the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse next," said trainer Mervyn Torrens. "I wasn't worried about the drop back in trip. He is better going right-handed so Fairyhouse should suit him."

In the Dubai World Cup at Meydan, Twice Over once again failed to sparkle in the desert as he trailed home in ninth behind Victoire Pisa.

Henry Cecil's six-year-old was always struggling from an outside draw and suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Japanese raider Victoire Pisa, which denied his compatriot Transcend in a power-packed finish.

Seventh in the Arc last year, the Katsuhiko Sumii-trained four-year-old disputed matters from halfway with Transcend, and just got the better of the battle in the shadow of the post to land the spoils by half a length.

Monterosso was third for the Godolphin team while Cape Blanco ran a huge race for Aidan O'Brien and Jamie Spencer in fourth, having been towards the front rank the whole way. Winning rider Mirco Demuro, who has been riding in Japan for the last 13 years, was overcome with emotion following his victory. "I've won the Japan Cup and the Italian Derby but this is the best I've won," he said.

Mahmood Al Zarooni saddled Allybar to finish third last year and felt Monterosso had not enjoyed the clearest of runs. "He was a bit unlucky as he didn't get the gaps, but he is a nice horse and it was a good run," he explained.

However, O'Brien was thrilled with Cape Blanco, which was sporting the colours of Fitri Hay for the first time as he made his seasonal bow. "He ran a stormer and we are really delighted, especially as it was his first run of the season," O'Brien said. "Hopefully he is staying with me and we will be able to run him in the big races during the summer."

Cecil thought the race was not run to suit his stable star. "They went very slowly early and that didn't suit him," he said. "He never got anywhere and it is disappointing, but that is the way it goes."

Sunday Indo Sport

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