Dunguib returned from a ten-month absence and booked his Champion Hurdle place with an impressive defeat of Luska Lad at Gowran on Saturday.
Bookmaker reaction was swift shortening the odds of last season’s top novice for the Champion Hurdle. Stan James who were 20-1, cut his price to 12-1, with Paddy Powers going as short as 10-1 from 14-1.
Trainer Philip Fenton was thrilled with the performance, saying: “He’s on the way now. It was always going to be a tactical race and he warmed up gradually. Hopefully he’ll come on a fair bit for it. He’s beginning to blossom. Two things need to be said, five weeks ago he was a sick horse and this was his first run of the season. He can only come on leaps and bounds.”
Brian O’Connell(jockey) was also happy enough with the win saying: “He did it well. Considering it was his first time out it was brilliant. I’m delighted to be back on track with him.”
With just three runners, it was always going to be a tricky reappearance but following his long absence, Dunguib did the job well enough, despite being keen through the early stages. Davy Russell dictated matters on Luska Lad, quickening things up turning for home and proving a tough target for Dunguib to pass. However, a clean jump at the last flight sealed the race for the winner.