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Dunguib connections eyeing crack at Coral Cup

Dunguib is a 16/1 chance with the sponsors for the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival following his easy success in the Boyne Hurdle, but will have to overcome two major stats if he is to win the race.

Philip Fenton’s charge returned to the winners’ enclosure after almost three years when beating Zaidpour by six lengths in the Grade 2 Navan contest.

The 2009 Champion Bumper winner had been plagued with injury troubles, and it was just his second run back since finishing eighth to Hurricane Fly in the 2011 running of the Champion Hurdle.

However, the 11-year-old showed that he still retained plenty of his old ability when readily disposing of Willie Mullins’ 158-rated gelding and the County Hurdle and Coral Cup are now being considered as possible Cheltenham targets.

Speaking after his win at Navan, Fenton said: “That was lovely, it was a grand performance. He was getting a little bit tired from the last, but we’d be hoping he’d improve from it. It’s great to get a good horse back.

“There’s a good chance he’ll go to Cheltenham. We’ll see what the handicapper does, we could look at the County Hurdle or the Coral Cup.”

Given that the Boyne Hurdle was over 2m 5f the logical target would appear to be the Coral Cup run over the same distance.

Carlito Brigante (2011) was the last horse trained on the Emerald Isle to win the race, and Dunguib faces two big obstacles according to the stats if he is to land the spoils.

The first is his age, as in 20 runnings of the race no horse aged 11 has ever been successful.

The oldest to have triumphed was Chance Coffey back in 1995 at the age of 10.

The other big concern is that he is rated 148, and just one horse rated above 147 has won in the history of the race.

That honour goes to last year’s victor Medinas, who was rated the same as Dunguib going into the contest but was five years his younger.