Big-race targets remain open for Fakir D’oudairies

Connections of Fakir D’oudairies are in no hurry to firm up plans for the six-year-old following his convincing win in the Clonmel Oil Chase.

The six-year-old, trained by Joseph O’Brien, trounced Royal Rendezvous by 15 lengths on his first start since he finished third to Clan Des Obeaux in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.

Options for Fakir D’oudairies include the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on December 5, the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.

“He put up a good performance and Joseph said he’s come out of the race very well,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner J P McManus.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure where he’ll go. He’s in the John Durkan and he’s in over Christmas over here and in the King George. We’ll make our minds up nearer the time.”

Darasso (left) will reappear in the near future after being a late withdrawal from the Morgiana Hurdle
Darasso (left) will reappear in the near future after being a late withdrawal from the Morgiana Hurdle (Brian Lawless/A)

Berry reports Darasso has recovered from a setback that caused him to be a late withdrawal from the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

The eight-year-old, also from the O’Brien stable, had booked his place in the Grade One with an emphatic success in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan a week earlier.

“He put up a nice performance at Navan, but unfortunately he missed the race at Punchestown with a little knock in a joint,” he said.

“He’s fine again so you’ll see him out again shortly somewhere.”

Darasso takes Lismullen prize as Flooring Porter crashes out

Darasso took full advantage of Flooring Porter’s fall at the second-last flight to claim the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.

Flooring Porter, last season’s Stayers’ Hurdle hero, had made the running and still looked to be going within himself, despite being challenged by Grand Roi, when he came down. Thankfully both Gavin Crowmell’s six-year-old and rider Danny Mullins were quickly to their feet.

That left Darasso (4-1), who had made ground from last place in the five-runner field, to pick up the pieces.

The eight-year-old, trained by Joseph O’Brien, came through to hit the front under Luke Dempsey and land the spoils by six lengths from last year’s winner Sire De Berlais, to give owner JP McManus the first and second.

“He’s been very consistent all year, he run some good races so it’s nice to see him back again in front,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.

“He’s in the Morgiana next weekend and we’ll see how he is during the week, he doesn’t mind pulling out quick. If he is in good form we might have a shot at it.

“He’s probably not good enough for the Grade Ones, but he could pick up a bit of prize-money – he never runs a bad race.”

Dempsey said: “It was a very good performance. He likes that good ground and he did it nicely in the end. He’s been on the go all summer and the others haven’t so that helped him. He had a fitness edge.”

Darasso and jockey Luke Dempsey after their victory in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan
Darasso and jockey Luke Dempsey after their victory in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan (Gary Carson/PA)

When asked if he thought he had Flooring Porter covered, he added: “I’m not sure whether he had me beaten or not, to be perfectly honest with you. I was coming with my run at the time and I felt I had plenty of horse left. He did it nicely. He’s a right little horse.

“We went very quick, there was no hanging about. I was riding my lad to run well and pick up whatever I could. When they went so quick early on, I knew it would play into my hands.”

Darasso on a roll as Samcro fails to fire at Listowel

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Samcro failed to fire as Darasso continued his resurgence with a clear-cut victory in the John J. Galvin Chase at Listowel.

A winner at Graded level over hurdles and fences, Joseph O’Brien’s Darasso endured a largely disappointing campaign last season.

However, having bounced back to winning ways in a conditions hurdle at Killarney last month, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old followed up back over the larger obstacles in County Kerry.

Ridden by Luke Dempsey, the 11-2 shot jumped well on the whole – and a slight mistake at the final obstacle was not enough to stop him scoring comfortably by seven lengths from Snow Falcon.

Dempsey said: “He is a good horse and did it nicely.

“I was eager enough to get ahead of (leader) Abbey Magic, who was jumping right – and the loose horse wasn’t helping me either.

“He was long at the last, but came up for me – and in fairness once he had hit the front he did it well in the end.

“It was a good performance.”

Denise Foster’s Samcro was the 11-4 favourite, after winning a Grade Three chase at Killarney four weeks ago, but was ultimately well beaten in sixth place.

Favourite backers were rewarded in the preceding Bryan MacMahon Handicap Hurdle, with Mark Fahey’s 100-30 chance Place Des Vosges landing the 21,000 euro feature by eight lengths in the hands of Mark Bolger.

Fahey said: “It was her first time over three miles, and you don’t know unless you try it. Mark gave her a great ride.

“I’ve had her a year and a half, and the only time she finished out of the money was when she fell one day at Fairyhouse.

“She is very consistent. It is a nice pot to win, and I’m delighted for her owners Liam and Carol Rooney, who are part of the syndicate. It is nice for them to come down here today and lead her in.

“There is a two-mile handicap for her at the Derby weekend, and she might go there.”

David Christie has next year’s Grand National meeting at Aintree on his radar for Winged Leader, following the odds-on favourite’s four-and-a-quarter-length triumph in the Join The Listowel Races Supporters Club Hunters Chase under Barry O’Neill.

Christie said: “He is a fine horse, and we were all set to go to Stratford with him, but he got injured on the walker and cut his leg and bruised himself. I thought that would be it, so we’ve had a job getting him back to here.

“He is going out on the grass this week, and next season I think I’ll aim him at Aintree (Foxhunters’ Chase). Aintree takes a horse that stays, but has the gallop to go two and a half miles.

“He goes on any ground, is only seven and is by Winged Love – and they are late developers, so you’d be hoping there is more to come.”