Dysart Enos looks like having every chance of finally breaking trainer Fergal O’Brien’s Cheltenham Festival duck judged on her latest impressive victory in the opening race at Prestbury Park on Friday.
The Ravenswell Farm handler has yet to enjoy success at the sport’s showpiece event, but has come close on several occasions and is a regular visitor to the winner’s enclosure at his local track’s other meetings.
Dysart Enos, whose three bumper wins included a Grade Two success at Aintree, predictably outclassed her rivals on her hurdling debut at Huntingdon last month, but she had more on her plate taking on the geldings in the British EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
The 5-6 favourite proved more than up the task, though, jumping significantly better than she had done at Huntingdon and travelling like much the best horse in the field into the home straight.
Beat The Bat did his best to stay in the race on the run to the final flight, but Dysart Enos was not for catching and found plenty on the run-in to pass the post with two and three-quarter lengths in hand.
“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,” said O’Brien.
“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 was that she is quite hot, and I didn’t want to come 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.”
Paddy Power make the winner a 4-1 joint-favourite from 6-1 for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March, which O’Brien confirmed as her main objective.
He added: “We’ll aim for the mares’ novice and she would only have one more race beforehand, if that.
“She is very special as we have never had anything so quick.”
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