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Foildubh takes a dive at the last on his way to a first Graded victory

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Foildubh foils Days to land first Graded race

Report: Fairyhouse, Tuesday

Normans Grove Chase (Grade 2) 2m1f, 5yo+

A TYPICALLY cheeky ride by Paul Carberry saw Foildubh get his head in front for the first time in Graded company, having spent much of the winter chasing home the likes of Flemenstar, Sizing Europe and today's runner-up Days Hotel.

With form figures of 2342P22 since stepping up to contest Graded chases it was a deserved success for a horse whose last win came eight starts ago in a hurdle at Tipperary off a mark of 126.

Before Tuesday's Normans Grove Foildubh had achieved his best RPRs on ground described as soft or heavy, but trainer John Ryan felt the better surface helped the nine-year-old. "This horse is a completely different animal on good ground. He finds another gear," he said.

Third of four for much of the race, Foildubh sat off pacesetter Bob Lingo, who had odds-on favourite Days Hotel on his quarters ensuring a decent gallop. Half-way down the back straight the tempo lifted and jumping the last before the home turn Andrew Lynch had taken things up on the 5-6 shot in a bid to make it a thorough test.

Carberry, who had to nudge his mount along rounding the bend, always looked the only danger and having straightened up and snapped back on the bridle, it became a question of just how much Foildubh would find.

Eased into contention by Carberry, who was stock-still in the saddle and cruising up the home straight in the manner he has become famous for, the pair slowly drew alongside Days Hotel and didn't take things up until the last.

Having rather dived at the last, Carberry remained motionless all the way to the line, pulling just a length and three-quarters clear of dual Grade 2 winner this season Days Hotel.

On future targets, Ryan added: "I suppose we'll have to go for the Grade 1 at Punchestown as the handicapper will surely rule out handicaps after that."

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