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Fairyhouse report: Doctor Phoenix gives Gordon Elliott a tonic

Sun 14 Jan 2018

Doctor Phoenix produced a career-best performance to win the Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse.

Having just his fourth run for Gordon Elliott since being bought by Nick Bradley Racing for only £10,000, he looks a bigger bargain than ever now.

Second on his debut for the yard at Cork in October, he then won at the Mallow venue a month later before a bad mistake cost him any chance at Fairyhouse in December.

Nursed into the race inside the final three furlongs in typical Davy Russell style, he bounded clear after the last to beat Kilcarry Bridge, who tried to make all the running, by nine lengths.

Russell said: "He was a great purchase by Mouse O'Ryan and the team. The ease in the ground and the good gallop helped but I had a job to get by John Ryan's horse (Kilcarry Bridge).

"He's won a big pot now so they can't complain about much."

The 13-2 chance, who holds an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, completed a Fairyhouse double for Elliott and Russell after the earlier victory of Mitchouka.

Elliott said: "Jack (Kennedy) did the right thing the last day as he let him hack home after making a bad mistake. He only cost 10 grand so if he never wins another race its job done.

"He's a two-miler and he loved coming off a fast gallop. If you don't bully him early he'll arrive late on.

"Nick (Bradley) is ballsy enough with his entries but if it's up to me we would be looking at a little conditions race."

Mitchouka stamped his class on the Promote Your Business At Fairyhouse In 2018 Hurdle.

Sent off the even-money favourite, he hardly gave Russell a moment's concern and quickened away nicely after the last to beat stablemate Veneer Of Charm by eight lengths.

Elliott said: "He's a grand honest horse and hasn't done anything wrong all year. He ran up against a good horse of Gavin (Cromwell)'s (Espoir D'Allen) a few times.

"He's probably a horse more for the Fred Winter but as long as he keeps picking up prize-money we're happy.

"The Fred Winter is only about half a stone between top and bottom now, and you can't be clever in handicaps there anymore because you won't get in if you are.

"He'll be entered in Leopardstown (Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle) and we'll see where we go."

Grade One-winning hurdler Saturnas had to work hard to land the odds in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.

Willie Mullins' 8-11 favourite looked beaten going to the second-last, with De Plotting Shed still travelling strongly for Davy Russell.

However, Paul Townend switched his mount from one side of the track to the other and Saturnas quickened up.

Mullins' inmate drew level just before the last and came home a length and a quarter clear after a big leap at the final fence.

"I thought he might be one of our two-milers this year but, looking at that, he needs further," said Mullins. "I was hoping he'd be a Grade One horse (over fences) but looking at that it will be quite a climb."

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