Danoli on the road to a Cheltenham return

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The Independent Online
Danoli, Ireland's favourite racehorse, is well on the way to recovery after fracturing his off-fore fetlock when winning the Aintree Hurdle in April.

After undergoing surgery to insert a screw in the fractured bone, Danoli was dispatched back to the Co Carlow stable of his trainer, Tom Foley, to start his rehabilitation with a target of January next year for his return to racecourse action.

"Everything is going according to plan at the moment," Foley said yesterday. "He is swimming and regularly walking three miles on the roads and is coming on quite well. He will be aimed at the Irish Champion Hurdle and then Cheltenham."

Although this season Danoli will continue over hurdles, Foley added: "We will have to see how we get on, but the following year he will be going chasing."

Danoli was elevated to hero status when getting the better of a stirring duel with Corrouge in the Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle in 1994. His win in that year's Aintree Hurdle confirmed him as the top hurdler on either side of the Irish Sea according to official ratings,

Last year, Danoli followed a creditable Champion Hurdle third to Alderbrook with his win at Aintree, but it was in that race, at the second last flight, that the damage was done.

Vintage Crop, who also reached heroic status in Ireland after winning the 1993 Melbourne Cup, is favourite to complete a hat-trick in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Saturday. The Dublin bookmakers Paddy Power make the Dermot Weld-trained stayer 6-4 to capture the Classic which was restricted to three-year-olds until 1982. The eight-year-old is being prepared for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup.

Irish St Leger acceptors: Broadway Flyer (J Hills), Moonax (B Hills), Strategic Choice (P Cole), Vintage Crop (D Weld), Zilzal Zamaan (M Stoute), Double On (P Flynn), Royal Ballerina (M Kauntze), Saxon Maid (L Cumani), Humbel (D Weld), Johansson (J Oxx), Oscar Schindler (K Prendergast), Posidonas (P Cole).

Paddy Power: 6-4 Vintage Crop, 2-1 Moonax, 5-2 Strategic Choice, 10-1 Zilzal Zamaan, 12-1 Saxon Maid, 14-1 Oscar Schindler, 20-1 Posidonas, 33-1 Double On.