Fergal O’Brien is yet to train a winner at the Cheltenham Festival but the handler believes Dysart Enos could be the horse to change that statistic after making the perfect introduction to hurdles at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
After rattling up a hat-trick of bumper wins culminating in the Grade Two Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree the five-year-old had little trouble in accounting for her rivals in the RhinoBet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Sent off the 1-7 Favourite to make her hurdling bow a winning one the Malinas mare breezed through the race before taking up the lead during the closing stages of the two-mile test.
Despite giving the last hurdle plenty of air it failed to halt the momentum of the odds-on favourite, who proved seven and a half lengths too strong for runner-up Parkin Fine.
O’Brien said: “It is a relief, but I’m more relieved to see her go around and do it the way we thought she would do it. She has been working really well.
“I said to Paddy (Brennan) that she has not been as straightforward this season as she was last season as she has had the odd bug. Last season she just ran and ran and she was so straightforward.
“She has been great at home and the last few weeks she has been flying. Big credit goes to Tom Broughton who rides her most days. She is not easy, and you have to keep a lid on her.
“Her schooling has been good. Sometimes she is a bit too brave, but I’m glad to get today out of the way.
“The hurdles helped her as Paddy said she was a bit keen in between her hurdles and she will have learnt a lot today.”
Following the race Dysart Enos was left unchanged at 7-1 for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival by both Paddy Power and William Hill.
However, before an appearance at The Festival materialises Dysart Enos will head to Newbury on December 2nd for the Listed Play Coral “Racing-Super-Series” For Free Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
O’Brien added: “We will roll on to Newbury now in the Listed race and then we will take it from there. This was always the plan. She was in a couple of races before that were either called off, or she wasn’t right, but the plan was to come here then go to Newbury.
“I don’t want to think that far ahead, but I’ve made no secret of the mares’ novices’ hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival being the aim. She is very exciting.
“We had a Cap Soleil that got beat at Newbury, then won a Listed race at Haydock Park and she was second behind Laurina at the Festival in that race.
“I think she would be another level up on her as she has a bit more speed.”
Former Eider Chase hero and Scottish Grand National runner-up Crosspark received a warm reception from the crowd at the Cambridgeshire track after securing his first success in more than four years with victory in the Racing TV Veterans’ Handicap Chase.
Without a victory to his name since claiming Eider Chase glory at Newcastle in February 2019 the popular 13-year-old showed he still has plenty of enthusiasm despite being in the twilight of his career in the extended two-mile seven-furlong contest.
Sent straight into the lead by Charlie Hammond the Nick Kent-trained Midnight Legend gelding was not to be denied career success number seven under rules with the pair repelling Special Acceptance by a length and a quarter.
Kent said of the 15-2 winner: “He loved it out there. The drop in grade has helped him, but I didn’t think this track would suit him.
“Everything had gone swimmingly training wise and he had no setbacks in the lead up. As everything had gone right we thought we would just give it a go.
“He is an Eider Chase winner, and he was second in a Scottish National, but the handicapper kept at him.
“We ran him in the final of the Veterans’ series at Sandown earlier this year but he didn’t have the legs for that so that is why we dropped back hunter chasing last season.
“He comes out every morning moving like a young horse. He is very easy to train.”
Among those on hand to congratulate Crosspark following his latest success was his former trainer Caroline Bailey.
She added: “I’m thrilled for the horse and Nick. He has looked after him brilliantly since he left me. The handicapper had given him a chance here but he jumps for fun.
“I’ve been to watch him in virtually every race since I retired and Nick’s yard have been great in keeping in touch with me telling me how he is.
“These veterans races give horses like him a chance. The public loved seeing him win and he got a great cheer.”
The silks of owners Jim and Fitri Hay are more associated with big-race Flat successes, however their colours were carried to a rare victory over jumps after Goose Man defied a 972-day absence in the RhinoBet Selling Hurdle.
Making his first start for Jamie Snowden since switching Tom Taaffe the 11 year old son of Gold Well, who was last sighted winning a three and a quarter mile chase at Down Royal in March 2021, made all before claiming an 11-length success.
A good crowd gathered around the winner’s enclosure following the conclusion of the two-mile prize to watch the auction, which after a battle with fellow trainer Neil Mulholland saw Goose Man brought back in by his current connections for £11,500.
Snowden said of the 5-1 winner: “He had done plenty of work, but he had done two tendons and he had more than two years off. He is a talented individual, but a fragile one. We will get him back and take it day by day with him. This was a nice race to bring him back in.
“He will probably go back over fences as he is a proper chaser and his last win before this was over three and a quarter miles at Down Royal.
“With all the issues he has had it was nice to get his confidence back up. He has been with us for a month. This is the first winner I’ve had for Jim and Fitri Hay.”