Racing: Vincent's flourish to defy Dunwoody: The champion jockey may be forced into a supporting role as old rivals lift Cheltenham prizes

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The Independent Online
ONE of several low points in a sometimes painful and frequently disappointing day for Richard Dunwoody at Kempton a week ago came when he was edged out of success in the last race by Lorna Vincent on Peatswood.

The point is not that he was beaten by a female jockey, Vincent was booting home winners years before Dunwoody reached the racecourse and her capabilities have long been beyond dispute. What will have irked Dunwoody was the manner of the defeat. Smoothly taking up the running at the second last flight, he then kicked clear of his rivals and was in that commanding position where it must have been tempting to think that he had at last found some solace on a day when he had hit the deck hard and had another horse collapse fatally beneath him. To crown it all, while he was trudging back after pulling up Rolling Ball in the King George, Adrian Maguire was winning the race on Dunwoody's old partner Barton Bank.

Then it all went wrong, again. Not through Dunwoody's fault - there was no question of complacency - but because Vincent had galvanised Peatswood into a devastating charge that swept them 15 lengths clear of the third horse and past the champion jockey in the last few yards. Dunwoody's mount was, ironically, called Beyond Our Reach.

Peatswood and Vincent are in action again today at Cheltenham when, despite what the betting might indicate, Dunwoody is likely to be their main rival on Everaldo. Nursed through his comeback from a long lay-off, Everaldo is a horse of enormous potential and is likely to be closer to his peak today, but Peatswood (next best 2.25) has that finishing kick.

There may not be much to cheer Dunwoody on the rest of the card as Maguire, who leads the Ulsterman by 40 in the race for the jockeys' championship after having 11 winners, to Dunwoody's four, in the last fortnight, can take the ASW Chase, on MOORCROFT BOY (nap 1.50).

The wet weather will have turned this marathon event into even more of a slog than usual and will also have a big impact on the destination of the prize. Topsham Bay and Windy Ways are thoroughly proven over this trip but would prefer better ground, while the mud allows horses such as Mister Ed and Just So to utilise their stamina. Just So was described last week by his trainer, Henry Cole, as a horse who 'gets five miles, six miles . . . '. He will certainly be staying on, but Moorcroft Boy, who beat him by 15 lengths last time, may have passed the post by then.

Dunwoody's Kempton conveyance, Beyond Our Reach, reappears at Windsor but the world and their window cleaner will be backing him after such an obviously capable performance and Brightling Boy (1.40), who may cope better with the underfoot conditions, looks better value at around 12-1.

In the New Year's Day Hurdle it may also be more fun and more financially worthwhile to ignore the market leaders and gamble that another mudlark, Dancing Paddy (2.40), is fit enough to do himself justice on his seasonal debut.