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Monday 11 December 2017

Hughes hopeful of Rare Festival show

Dessie Hughes is looking forward to seeing how his Grade One-winning chaser Rare Bob performs in the Lucan Racing Leinster National at Naas on Sunday.

The eight-year-old looked sure to go on to big things when winning the Champion Novice Chase at last year's Punchestown Festival but was last of five on his only appearance since at Fairyhouse in January.

That said, the gelding certainly caught the eye when working with Ryanair Chase-bound stablemate Schindlers Hunt at Leopardstown on Sunday and Hughes is hopeful his charge could yet make his mark at one of the spring Festivals.

"He's obviously giving a lot of weight away which will make it tough but he's a fair horse and we're looking forward to running him again," said Hughes. "Everyone saw him work after racing at Leopardstown last weekend and he did school and work very well, so we'll just see what happens on Sunday.

"It's unfortunate Cheltenham has come too soon for him as we really needed to get another run into him, but he's had his problems this year.

"We had him hobdayed earlier in the season and it has taken a while for us to get him back, but he is a very good horse.

"If all goes well on Sunday, I'd be looking at Aintree and Punchestown for him."

Godolphin signed off in style at the Dubai Carnival with another hat-trick of wins at Meydan.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor and his strong team of runners have dominated the meeting this winter, bagging a total of 21 victories heading into the final fixture ahead of the Dubai World Cup on March 27.

The team further enhanced that tally with Sirocco Breeze, Once More Dubai and Frozen Power all hitting the target.

Richard Hills was aboard the first-named and that victory helped him to see off the challenge of Christophe Lemaire in the inaugural Meydan Masters jockeys' competition

Sirocco Breeze's effort in the second leg of the four-stage contest put him right in the mix while placed efforts from Salute Him and Monte Alto saw him notch up 116 points, 17 clear of Lemaire.

"It's great -- it's lovely to be invited and this is like my home town anyway," Hills said.

"It's a great honour to win this for the first time."

Sirocco Breeze impressed in his win, showing a very smart turn of foot to supplement his Carnival victory two weeks ago.

Hills believes the five-year-old could have a big future following his two-and-a-half-length verdict over Luca Cumani's Swop.

"I spoke to Frankie (Dettori) before and he said once he relaxes, he has a really good turn of foot," said Hills.

"He beat me last time when I thought I had won the race (on Mutheeb) and he went by me very quickly so I was quite confident.

"Once you get a bit of cover he is grand, but once he gets a bit of daylight early he can hang.

"He's good enough to win some big races back home."

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