Neatly, Dunwoody, 30 last week, also rode his first winner at Prestbury Park. He recalled: 'That was Game Trust for Colin Nash back in 1983. I'm delighted that the first and the 1,000th came at such a special place.'
The tide seems to have turned for the champion jockey after a slow start to the season with Martin Pipe's virus-ridden yard. In recent weeks he has been rapidly reeling in the table-topping Adrian Maguire, and yesterday Pridwell, dear old Waterloo Boy and Relkeel provided the other three legs of a 749-1 four-timer to bring the Ulsterman to within 20 of his rival, at present on enforced holiday.
Maguire is still favourite for the championship at 8-13 with Hills, but yesterday Dunwoody was cut to evens to retain his title.
Tough Flakey Dove was winning on successive Saturdays, and her excellent effort to beat Sweet Duke and Mole Board - on whom a massive gamble went astray; instead of losing pounds 500,000 Hills gained pounds 70,000 for their day's work - saw her Champion Hurdle odds shrink to 16-1 in most lists. More immediately she is bound for the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury on Saturday week, for which, set to carry 11st 1lb, she has been installed 6-1 second favourite.
It was a day for small stables and home-bred, and
British-bred, mares. The eight- year-old Flakey Dove was bred and is owned and trained by the farming Prices from Leominster, and Dubacilla, winner of the Timeform Hall of Fame Chase, comes from a similar background.
She belongs to Henry Cole and his wife, Veronica, who have a herd of 70 dairy cows and take in farmhouse B & B guests near Taunton. The mare, given a perfect ride by Dean Gallagher, stalked the leaders Run For Free and Young Hustler for most of the race, then pounced on Young Hustler at the third last and went clear up the hill.
The Coles bred Dubacilla, a half-sister to the staying chaser Just So, from their mare Just Camilla, a daughter of Princess Camilla, who once started favourite for the Grand National. They took out a permit two years ago specially to train the mare.
The improving Dubacilla, sadly, is not in this year's Gold Cup and will have the Ritz Club Trophy Handicap Chase as her Cheltenham Festival target.
Run For Free, on whom Mark Perrett felt something was amiss from half-way, was dismounted immediately after the race and has been pushed out to around 14-1 for the Gold Cup.Reuse content