Fergal O’Brien is yet to train a winner at the Cheltenham Festival but hopes Dysart Enos could be the horse to change that after describing the talented mare as ‘very special’ following her latest success over hurdles at Cheltenham today.
Arriving on the back of four straight victories the five-year-old mare backed up her debut success over the smaller obstacles at Huntingdon last month when proving a class above her rivals in the opening British EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
Always travelling well in behind early leader Spirits Bay the well supported 5-6 Favourite forged into a clear lead in the two miles and a furlong contest on the run down to the final flight.
Measuring the last well, Dysart Enos, who claimed Grade Two honours in the Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree last season, kept on finding plenty up the run in to defeat recent Ascot scorer Beat The Bat by two and three quarter lengths.
O’Brien said: “You say the race at Huntingdon was an egg and spoon race but Mary (who was third that day) has been placed in a Listed race at Newbury.
“She did everything she had to do that day at Huntingdon. It was lovely to come here, but I was questioning it yesterday as everyone was saying why are you going to Cheltenham?
“The reason I wanted to bring her to Cheltenham was that she is quite hot, and I didn’t want to bring her here in March having had an easy passage through just picking and choosing our races. I wanted her to see Cheltenham.
“If she got beat today, of course I would have been disappointed, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. I wanted her to come here and see Cheltenham and get some of the atmosphere.
“With these mares it is about training their minds as well as their bodies. Today she has just taken it so well. She is just so special to us.
“We looked at the Listed race at Newbury, and we thought it was a nice pot and everything, but this is a lovely pot here and it gives her the experience, and it is down the road, and it fitted in right. It was the right decision.”
Following the race Dysart Enos was trimmed into 4-1 for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival in March by both Paddy Power and William Hill, which O’Brien hinted she would only likely have one more race beforehand.
He added: “She would only have one more race - if that. At this stage (she is the best I’ve potentially trained), but she needs to keep training. She is very special as we have never had anything so quick. She is very special.
“That’s what we are hoping for (to get her to win at the Cheltenham Festival) and it is a case of keeping our fingers crossed.”
Paul Nicholls will take a familiar route with Ginny’s Destiny who enhanced his reputation over fences with a game display in the Cheltenham & South West Racing Club Novices’ Chase.
After opening his account on his second start since joining the Ditcheat handler from Tom Lacey at the track 26 days ago, the Gordon and Su Hall owned gelding added to that success to earn a potential return to Grade Two company next month.
Racing up with the pace throughout the extended two and a half mile test the 5-2 chance was not for relenting under Harry Cobden with the pair passing the post three quarters of a length clear from 2-1 Favourite Grey Dawning.
An outing at Warwick on January 13th in the Hampton Novices’ Chase, which Nicholls has won with Gungadu (2007), Rocky Creek (2013), Next Destination (2021) and Threeunderthrufive (2022), appears next on the agenda for Ginny’s Destiny
Nicholls said: “He puts them to the sword, and he keeps galloping. He had improved a lot at home, and he worked brilliantly the other morning.
“Claudia (Reid), who rides him and Pic D’Orhy at home, said to me he is not far behind Pic D’Orhy the way he is improving so she might be right.
“He is a very nice horse that is just getting the hang of things. I didn’t have him last season and he was nowhere near ready first time, but we needed to get him going.
“He has improved so much at home, physically and mentally, and he knows where he is at now. He gallops out with his ears pricked and he pulls up with his ears pricked. He has got plenty in the tank. He will be better over three miles as well.
“I might look at the £75,000 race at Warwick on January 13th (Hampton Novices’ Chase) as I think three miles around Warwick would be perfect for him. He is a good horse. Ground wise, the softer it is the better for him.”