Lavelle 'gutted' as tendon tear ends Tocca Ferro's campaign

The meeting at Cheltenham on Saturday, the final one staged there before the Festival in March, is nowadays billed as Trials Day. For trainers and punters alike, however, there already seems to be at least one Tribulations Day every week. The ink had barely dried on a setback to Ireland's principal Gold Cup hope, Pandorama, when yesterday brought an abrupt derailment to perhaps the biggest gamble of the season to date – as well as an alarming bulletin for those still clinging to the wreckage of Dunguib's attempt to justify an even bigger plunge at the Festival last year.

Tocca Ferro, so impressive at Newbury last time, had been so heavily backed for the Totesport Gold Trophy over the same course next month that many plainly anticipated him entering the equation for the Stan James Champion Hurdle itself. Yesterday, however, his heartbroken trainer revealed that her stable star would miss the rest of the campaign. "Tocca Ferro is suffering from a small tear in a tendon," Emma Lavelle said. "He worked very well at Kempton on Tuesday, and I'm absolutely gutted."

The trainer of Dunguib admitted time is running out for his proposed comeback in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park on 12 February. Brilliant winner of the 2009 Festival Bumper, Dunguib acquitted himself very creditably when odds-on for his return over hurdles last year, set plenty to do against one who has since broken into the elite, Menorah. But a poor blood test ruled him out of a comeback at Leopardstown last weekend, and Philip Fenton admitted: "We're beginning to panic a little bit that he won't be ready for the Red Mills, and won't be able to run him before Cheltenham."

Fenton warned that Dunguib would be given an entry for the Coral Cup, a handicap over two miles and five furlongs, scarcely the encouragement sought by those backing him for the Champion Hurdle.

Several interesting runners enliven proceedings today, in very different environments. Table Mountain, who won twice for Aidan O'Brien last year before changing hands for 200,000 guineas, makes his debut for Robbie Hennessy in a juvenile hurdle at Thurles, and The Minack tests his status as one of the best novice chasers at Ditcheat in a small field at Warwick.

Half a world away, at Meydan, Presvis returns from a long break on the third card of the Dubai International Carnival. Having swiftly accumulated nearly £2m in 2009, via Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore, Presvis seemed to have lost his way by the time he completed another demanding international schedule, at Royal Ascot last June. According to Charles Henson, assistant trainer to Luca Cumani, the horse is "certain to improve for the run".

Another British stable involved in the Al Rashidiya Stakes, a Group Two prize over nine furlongs, already merits congratulation. Roger Teal still has only a modest string at Epsom, in just his fourth season as a trainer, but was suitably rewarded for his enterprise when Steele Tango became the first British winner of the Carnival in a valuable handicap two weeks ago.

"That was a dream come true," Teal said. "I had the excitement of travelling around the world with Running Stag, under Philip Mitchell, but to have a horse win under your own name is fantastic. After his last run he deserves a chance."

Turf account

Nap

Paintball (1.10 Warwick) Decent type on the Flat, who travelled powerfully round another sharp track on his hurdling debut at Huntingdon, only narrowly run out of it.

Next best

Oscar Prairie (3.55 Warwick) Just flattened out over three miles last season and two miles has looked a shade sharp this term, so this intermediate test looks ideal for his chasing debut.

One to watch

Fujin Dancer (Brian Ellison) Looked unlucky at Market Rasen on Sunday, badly hampered between the last two, then hitting the final flight, before regrouping for third under amateur rider.

Where the money's going

Bensalem is 14-1 from 16-1 with the sponsors for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Festival in March.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms