Racing: Dwyer back on a mission

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The Independent Online
ANYONE who has ever sat, red- faced, as their teacher turns from the blackboard and says, 'Who threw that?' will have sympathised with Mark Dwyer after the Ladbroke Hurdle at Leopardstown last month, writes Greg Wood.

Dwyer, riding Native Mission, jumped the last flight three lengths clear, only for the pack to fly past him yards from the post, and afterwards the jockey readily admitted that he had squandered success by going for home too soon. It was a rare error of judgement by an accomplished jockey, but he will be eager to atone for his mistake all the same.

Newbury's Tote Gold Trophy next Saturday, one of the season's most valuable handicap hurdles, will offer him an ideal opportunity, though plenty of rivals will have other ideas. Some trainers plot for months, even years, to win this race, and as a result several runners can be expected to show remarkable improvement on their recent form. Native Mission, of course, has good form in the book for all to see, and Dwyer's extra incentive can tip the balance.

On Wednesday, Ascot stages the richest one-day meeting of the jumps season, but hardly anyone seems to have noticed. Prize- money of pounds 87,000 has attracted just 44 entries, with the Daily Telegraph Hurdle offering the most ludicrous prospect. The ever-enterprising Martin Pipe has three of the four entries, and the other is not a certain runner, so they might as well send him the money now.

The stiff Ascot fences may give Wonder Man (2.00) something to think about, but he is impossible to oppose, likewise Dakyns Boy (3.35) in the Reynoldstown Novice Chase. Irish Bay (1.30) and Sweet N' Twenty (4.05) will start at more rewarding odds.