Question mark over Dunguib
Fenton team delay their decision on Naas entry
As expected Dunguib's name appeared amongst the five-day entries for Naas on Saturday where he could make his first competitive appearance in 268 days for the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle.
In what could be a very interesting affair, the eight-year-old may face the likes of former Champion Hurdle winner Sublimity or the highly regarded Donnas Palm or Shinrock Paddy.
However, a decision will not be made on Dunguib's participation until tomorrow according to his trainer, Philip Fenton, who may decide, along with connections, to give the horse his seasonal bow in the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle the following Sunday.
People were quick to knock Dunguib after he failed to land a blow behind Hurricane Fly and Solwhit at the Punchestown Festival in April, while some had earlier questioned him when he failed to justify his lofty reputation in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Considering that Dunguib was only just over a length off Menorah at Cheltenham and the latter is now a leading market principal for the Champion Hurdle this March, the Dunguib doubters may have made their mind up a bit too soon.
There is no doubting that the son of Presenting was a shade disappointing at Punchestown, but it has to be remembered that he was then a novice taking on the leading hurdlers in the country and it was on the back of a challenging season.
Fenton had earmarked for a while now that his intentions were to start Dunguib off after Christmas and have him peak in the latter half of the season, when the big festivals are so important, and it will be interesting to see how he fares when he returns to action.
Taking on the likes of Hurricane Fly and Solwhit may prove a tough task for his first run of the season especially when those two are battle-hardened and match fit, so Naas is probably the more favourable option but tomorrow's decision has to be respected and it would be foolish of anyone to be ruling Dunguib out of contention for top honours just yet.
Meanwhile, also at Naas on Saturday is the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase and with no clear standout candidate for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, further clues may be picked up here.
Quito De La Roque was three parts of a length off winning a Grade One at Leopardstown three-weeks ago when just denied by Bostons Angel, while the Dessie Hughes-trained Wester Charmer also holds an entry and he was further length and a half back that day.
The French import Royal De La Thinte could line up for trainer Jim Dreaper and owner Alan Potts, while the race has went to Noel Meade for the past two years and he is double handed in the entries with Cross Appeal and Gran Torino who are both yet to win over fences.