Emotional Loughran notches first course win with Peregrine
Roger Loughran might have been the butt of jokes for mistaking the winning post on Central House at Leopardstown many moons ago but his ice-cool ride on Peregrine Run was no laughing matter.
The 36-year-old enjoyed one of the biggest days of his lengthy career in the saddle when landing the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Hyde Novices' Hurdle.
Seeing Loughran almost reduced to tears after he fended off the renewed challenge of Wholestone was enough to warm your toes on a nippy November afternoon in the Cotswolds. It was reward for keeping his head down, grafting and making the most of a rare opportunity that came his way.
Loughran was one of the late Dessie Hughes's grand servants and he paid tribute to the legendary Irish trainer.
"Dessie would be proud of me today and I know he was looking down on me," Loughran said afterwards. "I have ridden some good ones. Schindlers Hunt and Central House were very good and I was unbeaten on Grangeclare Lark. This is another one. It's great to be given the chance to ride him."
As with Loughran, it was a first Cheltenham winner of any sort for winning trainer Peter Fahey and he hopes to return in March for the festival. Planning such a trip would have looked stupid in August when Peregrine Run was rated a lowly 109, but it does not look so silly now after four wins on the trot.
"He's a cracking horse and we're delighted to have him," said a smiling Fahey afterwards. "It's a dream for me to get into this winner's enclosure. I can't believe it. We had Shop DJ, who was fifth around here, but we've had nothing like this fella."
He added: "We probably could drop him in trip if the ground was a bit softer, but the likelihood is that we'll give him a break now. He deserves it.
"Maureen [Doyle] who rides out Peregrine Run has done a terrific job and all the lads in the yard deserve credit for getting him to where he is. We'll have to have a think about the festival now. I couldn't be happier."
Lengthy whip ban for Fogarty
Mikey Fogarty has taken a 13-day ban on the chin and will not be appealing.
The Wexford native, who has started the new season in terrific form, picked up the lengthy suspension for overuse of the whip on Pairofbrowneyes, a head second to Un Beau Roman in the 1m7f handicap chase.
Head of stewarding Paul Barton said: "It was a long way above the permitted level. He only escaped a fine because of the value of the race and he finished second. Had he won he would have been fined £1,050."
Fogarty has accepted the hefty punishment, saying: "I'll not be appealing. Once I turned for home the horse was idling and had pricked his ears. I'll take it on the chin and learn from it."
"He's been going well at home. We schooled him yesterday and the lad who rides him at home could hardly hold him. I've got a couple of horses who are higher-rated this year, but he just burns them off on the gallops," Henderson said.
Boy on his best behaviour
Wildmoor Boy is not easy to handle, but Robin Dickin is doing a fine job and the five-year-old's victory in the novice handicap hurdle was his third from his last four starts.
The son of Midnight Legend gets worked up at the races – Dickin would like to saddle him at home – but he is getting better.
"He bred the horse and is 92 – I suspect he's leapt out of his rocking chair today. It's magical."
Thought for the day
If Peregrine Run, who was rated 109 in August, is able to come over and land a Grade 2 you would have to worry for the British-trained novice hurdlers. Willie Mullins has not unleashed any of his youngsters yet!