Dunguib looks gilt-edged for Bond

Leading novice hurdler should pass first serious test on top-class Fairyhouse card

Not even the best horses are immune from blips, whether at home or on the track, so nobody should be taking anything for granted when Dunguib continues his hurdling education at Fairyhouse this afternoon. Yesterday, for instance, one of the few jumpers in Ireland who can do similar things for the pulse rate, Cooldine, was scratched from his intended comeback race this weekend after disappointing in his work. So the only guarantee today is that Dunguib will prove worth the price of admission – which, following the unexpected abandonment of the same card on Sunday, is free.

Those in a position to take advantage will be rewarded not only by the most earnest test of Dunguib's new career, but also by two other Grade One races. The conditions will obviously be pretty demanding, having been unraceable as recently as Sunday, but these races do have a reliable habit of producing champions. The Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, for instance, was won last year by Hurricane Fly, and the names of Moscow Flyer, Hardy Eustace and Istabraq are others carved on the roll of honour.

Dunguib looks such a freak that he is certainly evoking memories of the young Istabraq. The things he can do on the bridle are little short of terrifying. After annihilating all comers in bumper races last season, he has been just as imperious in two starts over timber. He meets better horses today, admittedly, in Some Present and Sweeps Hill. We know that because they beat all the rest in chasing home Dunguib at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals respectively. As it happens, Sweeps Hill was later promoted to first, after a worming treatment for Dunguib proved to contain a prohibited substance, but nobody was under any illusions over their relative merit on the day.

Sweeps Hill did beat Some Present when they each made their second start over timber, at Punchestown in October, but you see cortèges moving quicker and the bare form counts for nothing. Some Present was again caught out in a sprint finish at Cheltenham last month, and a stablemate in the same colours may well try to guarantee the pace today.

Noel Meade dominates the Drinmore Novice Chase, Pandorama having long promised to come into his own over fences and Jered being best of these over hurdles. Meade, who yesterday announced the retirement of one of his most cherished horses in Harchibald, had three winners at Fairyhouse last Saturday as well as Go Native in the big race at Newcastle. But Jered has not looked a total natural in two chases, while Pandorama lost ground by jumping left before winning his maiden chase at Punchestown. Whatuthink might offer better value, now his stamina is likely to be examined for the first time over fences.

Catch Me suspends his own novice chasing campaign, after a fall at Navan last time, for the Hatton's Grace Hurdle – a prize he won last year, and one that again looks within his competence with Hardy Eustace now persevering towards his 13th birthday.

As for Cooldine, his name was missing from just six acceptors for the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on Sunday. Willie Mullins, his trainer, must now decide whether to go there with Barker, or to stick to two miles at Sandown the previous day. "Cooldine just didn't work smart enough," Mullins explained. "There's nothing wrong with him, but there wouldn't be much for him before Christmas now."

Cooldine was a brilliant winner of the RSA Chase but would now seem likely to face a tough resumption against seasoned chasers, either in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown or the William Hill King VI Chase at Kempton, against Kauto Star. "I would imagine it would be very hard to make that trip first time out," Mullins acknowledged. "But we'll just have to see how his work improves in the meantime."

Meade intends to run Aran Concerto, while it will be fascinating to have another look at In Compliance, as well. Once the great green hope, he seemed a new horse when making his first start for Dessie Hughes at Thurles last month. Cooldine, plainly, still has time on his side.

Turf account: Chris McGrath


Skippers Brig (1.25 Ayr) Still unexposed over fences and made an encouraging start for his new stable when third at Bangor last month, travelling so strongly that he should cope with the return to this trip.

Next best

Sydney Sling (1.10 Catterick) Confirmed himself on a winning mark when prematurely eased at Ludlow the other day – his inexperienced jockey was given a 10-day ban – and should make no mistake back under Paul Maloney this time.

One to watch

Trafalgar Road (C E Longsdon) struggled to get involved off a quickening pace at Newbury on Saturday, albeit keeping on for third, and promises improvement when his stamina is properly tested.

Where the money's going

Twist Magic is 7-2 from 4-1 with Coral to profit from the absence of Master Minded in the Keith Prowse Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments