Dunwoody still sidelined as Maguire takes lead

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The Independent Online
Adrian Maguire seized the opportunity to move one ahead in the jockeys' championship yesterday as Richard Dunwoody's return to action after a 30-day ban was delayed by the abandonment of yesterday's meeting at Fontwell.

It was a humble seller at Edinburgh, but Maguire showed great determination to win on Ijab. The horse looked held at the last flight as the leader, Hot Punch, kept on strongly. But Maguire persuaded his mount to challenge again and the partnership got up on the line for a head verdict.

John Parkes, the winning trainer, was registering his first success of the season and said: "Who else would have won that? Adrian was brilliant - I thought the horse was beaten and the win is down to him."

Maguire, who is now on the 113-winner mark, has far bigger prizes in prospect this coming weekend. It was comfirmed yesterday that Viking Flagship, his mount in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in three weeks' time, will attempt to recapture top form by running at Kempton on Saturday.

Following defeat by Martha's Son and a fall at Newbury recently, Viking Flagship has been entered in the Emblem Chase. But a possible clash there with old rival Travado is off because the Nicky Henderson chaser is to avoid the soft ground and go straight to the Festival without a run since Christmas.

One Man, another taking a crucial step in the build-up for Cheltenham, was yesterday installed the ante-post favourite for Saturday's Racing Post Chase at Kempton.

The grey, whose brilliant November victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup showed him to be a Gold Cup candidate, is currently a 10-1 chance for the Cheltenham showpiece.

For Saturday's contest, the Gordon Richards-trained hope is 2-1 favourite with Ladbrokes and 11-4 with William Hill. But, with rain disrupting the racing programme, Richards has left One Man in two races at Haydock the same day, including the Greenalls Gold Cup.

His wife, Joanie, said yesterday: "The plan is to go to Kempton. It's just because of the weather that we have to keep all options open."