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

Nap

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.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal