Dunguib (right) tracks Fionnegas at the last before going on to winPicture: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com
Supreme remains goal as Dunguib cruises home
Report: Leopardstown, Sunday
Deloitte Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m2f, 5yo+
TRAINER Philip Fenton was quick to reiterate that the Spinal Research Supreme Novices' Hurdle remained the target after his stable star Dunguib put in another superb performance to demolish a strong field for his fourth straight win of the season.
Odds-on quotes for the Supreme Novices' came flying in with Victor Chandler and Boylesports shortest at 4-6.
Paddy Power go 4-1 Dunguib with a run for the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, but moments after Brian O'Connell had steered Dunguib to victory with maxiumum confidence, trainer Philip Fenton underlined to reporters that the Supreme Novices' was still the Cheltenham Festival aim for his stable star.
Fenton also made it clear he felt the seven-year-old's hurdling was less than perfect, saying: "At least he got the job done - his jumping wasn't that good - but his jump at the last was probably his best.
"He was a bit sloppy at the second-last, but he's had plenty of schooling. Today was probably his poorest jumping performance.
"He has a huge cruising speed and he travelled and had plenty in the tank when he was finished."
O'Connell added: "They went a good gallop and this was his first time to keep up to that sort of gallop. He was a bit novicey with his jumping and not quite sure of himself, but he made up for it overall."
Dunguib, sent off the 3-10 favourite, rendered a detailed race report pointless as he was settled at the very back of the field by O'Connell, who cruised up to close on the leaders between the second-last and last flights and took over on the run-in.
It was over in a matter of strides as Dunguib won by two and a half lengths from Fionnegas, with Some Present a further 11 lengths back.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Fionnegas, said: "That's a career-best for our fella - he ran the race of his life and we're delighted with him. We might travel over for the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett [at the Cheltenham Festival], but I'll talk to the owners."