Ruacana benefits from Swnymor fall in Finale
Report: Chepstow, Saturday
coral.co.uk Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m½f 4yo
RUACANA remained unbeaten over hurdles and gave John Ferguson a first Grade 1 success but was a fortunate winner as Swnymor crashed out at the final flight when leading.
Formerly a useful middle-distance handicapper with Michael Bell, Ruacana had won on his hurdles debut at Catterick, but looked like he would be the runner-up at best under Denis O'Regan before Swnymor's error.
Bookmakers were of a similar opinion, cutting Swnymor to a general 16-1 (from 25), for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, while Ruacana can still be backed at 25-1.
Ferguson said: "He was finishing well but I'm far from certain he would have won but for the leader falling.
"We thought he'd like soft ground, but everybody was telling me that Chepstow heavy is different from heavy elsewhere. This race was the plan and I don't know where we go from here."
With outsider Dalmo leading for the first half of the race, things did not begin to hot up until rounding the final turn, when Megalypos travelled strongly into contention up the inner for
Richard Johnson was content to track McCoy on Swnymor, with Ruacana also in contention, while favourite Caid Du Berlais had to be urged to get closer by Ruby Walsh, having been niggled at down the back straight.
Between the penultimate and final flight Swnymor took the lead, but on the testing ground the four-year-old started to run around, and nosedived at the final flight, though happily horse and jockey were quickly up.
Johnson's fall hampered Megalypos, and it was left to Ruacana to win from Caid Du Berlais, who stayed on well for pressure.
Swynmor's owner Carl Hinchy said: "We would have loved to be celebrating a Grade 1 win, so of course we're gutted, but the main thing is the horse is fine and we've seen that he is a Grade 1 performer. After he has probably had a confidence booster we will be taking on everyone and the Triumph is the obvious plan.
"Richard said that he was so full of running he wanted to ask him for a big one."