Doddiethegreat does charity proud at Huntingdon

Doddiethegreat was a popular winner of the bumper at Huntingdon on Tuesday.

Trained by Nicky Henderson, the five-year-old runs in the Honeysuckle colours of owner Kenny Alexander.

He is named after Scottish rugby union great Doddie Weir, who is suffering from motor neurone disease and has set up his own charity to help others in the same situation.

The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation aims to raise funds to aid research into MND, and Alexander has donated everything Doddiethegreat earns to the charity – and on this showing, there will be plenty more.

Already a winner at Ludlow, the 5-6 favourite conceded lumps of weight to second-placed Kalmoor but ran out a four-and-a-half-length winner.

Both Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville also donated their share of the winnings from the Racing TV-sponsored contest.

Peter Molony, Alexander’s racing manager, said: “Kenny met Doddie a few years ago at a rugby international.

“Scotland were playing Fiji, and Kenny has a Fijian sister-in-law. Her son was with them. They met Doddie, and he made their day – Kenny thought he was an absolute superstar.

“Kenny loves his rugby and was really keen to do something to help Doddie. It’s nice of Nico and Nicky as well.”

Molony is looking to an exciting future with the unbeaten gelding.

“I loved the way he won the last day, and the second came out and won well, which is always a good sign,” he said.

“It’s never easy to give away a penalty in a bumper, but he was giving a stone to a fancied horse today and won well.

“He won’t run again this season, that will be it, and we can look forward to going hurdling next season with him.”

Honeysuckle team savouring Irish Champion Hurdle challenge

Connections of Honeysuckle are look forwarding to the mare’s bid for back-to-back triumphs in next Saturday’s Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Last season the seven-year-old went on to beat Benie Des Dieux in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but this year connections are seriously considering a tilt at Champion Hurdle glory.

Owner Kenny Alexander’s racing manager Peter Molony said: “Henry (de Bromhead, trainer) says she’s in good form and we’re very excited to see her run again.

“With every run she has she’s risking her unbeaten record, but she owes us nothing and has been fantastic. Please God she’ll run a good race for us.

“Last year we were 90 per cent Mares’ Hurdle and 10 per cent Champion Hurdle. This year, we’re probably leaning a little bit more towards the Champion, but we’ll see.

“Next week will tell a lot.”