Champion Hurdle - Dunguib - To Run Or Not To Run ?

Tags: Cheltenham Festival 2017

Published: 15:39 23/02/2010

The Alan King trained Medermit has been heavily backed for the Champion Hurdle, to be run on Tuesday 16th March, after the handler claimed his charge had " a strong each way chance" in a recent interview. Now a general 9/1 shot from 12s mainly due to last year's favourite Binocular being on the easy list and leading fancy Zaynar's shock defeat at Kelso last week.The championship event is fast becoming a wide open affair. With this in mind it must be very tempting for connections of leading novice Dunguib to have a change of heart and go for the " big one " rather than stick to the traditional route via the Spinal Research Supreme Novice Hurdle. A general 4/6 shot for the novice event the Presenting gelding would probably start favourite if asked to compete at the higher level. At present connections are leaning towards the first race at the festival, mainly due to the poor round of jumping Dunguib put in when winning the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on February 7th. Although there is no doubt Philip Fenton's charge produced a hurdling round that can only be described as " sloppy" this was probably due to the fact that this tremendous prospect was never out of third gear to record an impressive victory. In fact, his best jump was at the last when asked to go on and win the race, before cruising home on the bridle. A faster pace against classier opposition may be just what is needed to sharpen the horse up in the jumping department. As a seven year old ( Katchit was five when winning the 2008 Champion Hurdle ) Dunguib is quite old for a novice hurdler and providing he stays injury free will be eight next season when being prepared for the championship event. If a future chasing career is also on the cards the gelding can not be said to have time on it's side. Regarded by many as the most exciting novice since Golden Cygnet in the late 1970's, the one thing that will " sex up " the 2010 Champion Hurdle is for connections to allow this potential superstar the opportunity to prove just how good he is, by taking part in the festival's feature race on Tuesday 16th March.