Cheltenham Festival News

Triumph favourite Fil Dor digs deep to score at Fairyhouse

Sun 28 Nov 2021

Fil Dor justified his position as the early market leader for the Triumph Hurdle when maintaining his unbeaten record in the Bar One Racing Price Boost Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse, but he was made to pull out all the stops by Lunar Power.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Fil Dor was made favourite for the Triumph following a very impressive debut at Down Royal, but he faced a different calibre of opposition in this Grade Three.

Nevertheless, he was still sent off the 4-7 favourite and Davy Russell appeared to have things under control for most of the race.

However, Noel Meade’s Lunar Power, a winner on his second hurdles outing at Punchestown and experienced from the Flat, was quickening all the time too.

The pair pulled 11 lengths clear, but Fil Dor was going away at the line and won by a length and a quarter.

Coral cut the winner to 9-2 from 6-1 for the Triumph Hurdle.

“Davy said he was just professional and was asleep the whole way. He gave him one dig and he did what he had to do,” said Elliott.

“A bit of softer ground would suit him better, but it was a nice performance and he did it well. Lunar Power brought him a little left so he needed the good jump at the last.

“We will look at Leopardstown over Christmas but ground will be a thing, so we will put him in at Chepstow (Finale Hurdle) as well.”

The opening Bar One Racing Sign Up Bet 10 Get 50 Irish EBF Mares Handicap Chase went to all-the-way winner Alohamora.

Given a positive ride by Gavin Brouder, the James Nash-trained seven-year-old registered her first win since January 2020.

A 66-1 chance when well beaten at Cheltenham earlier this month, she was a well backed 3-1 shot on this occasion.

“It was a brilliant performance from man and horse and Gavin gave her a great ride as usual,” said Nash.

“She has only had four runs over fences and got an awful fall at Catterick and it knocked the stuffing out of her. We ran her afterwards at Limerick and she pulled herself up and wouldn’t take part, so I didn’t know until she got down over the first couple today.

“The owners are from the UK and the first time I got to meet them was a couple of weeks ago in Cheltenham, even though they have had her 18 months.

“Everyone was happy with her in Cheltenham, but I was a bit disappointed and thought she was a little better than she ran. She bounced out of the race and we were taking a bit of a chance running here, but the race cut up and I’m sure everyone was expecting it to be stronger.

“At the declaration stage, with Gavin claiming 7lb, I thought she had a small chance and she put it all together today.”

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