Racing: Mann has cause to celebrate Celibate

CELIBATE AND Richard Dunwoody gave the Lambourn trainer Charlie Mann his most notable success yesterday with a win over Space Trucker and Direct Route in the IRpounds 55,000 BMW Chase on the opening day of Punchestown's Festival.

"The plan was to make the running and he enjoyed it," Mann said of the 7-1 winner. "Richard and I agreed that we might as well go out in front because Direct Route and Space Trucker are held up usually."

"Direct Route has had a hard season," his jockey, Norman Williamson, said. "He travelled well enough, but emptied when he hit the last."

Cardinal Hill signed off for the season with a comfortable win in the Champion Novices' Hurdle in which Nicky Henderson's Bacchanal jumped badly and finished last of the five runners. He was later found to be lame.

Ireland's top two chasers, Dorans Pride and Florida Pearl, provide today's highlight in the Heineken Gold Cup, with the score between them standing at one-all. Adrian Maguire was due to replace the hospitalised Paul Carberry on Dorans Pride but he cracked a bone in his wrist at Plumpton on Monday and will be out of action for two weeks. Tony McCoy now takes the ride. David Nicholson's Gold Cup seventh, Escartefigue, reopposes Florida Pearl on 5lb better terms than when two lengths second in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Following an injury scare at the weekend, the participation of Joe Mac in the Champion Novices' Hurdle will be decided after he canters this morning.

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