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Grade 1 and Grade 2 wins in February - 28th February 2014

Congratulations to trainer Dessie Hughes at Fairyhouse and Punchestown in the first weekend of racing in February. Indian Icon was in the Book On-Line @ fairyhouse.ie Maiden Hurdle 4/5yo under Paul Carberry. The 6/4 favourite improved from the fourth fence and kept on the same pace on the final run in to take 3rd, five and a half lengths behind. Lieutenant Colonel owned by Gigginstown House Stud and under Bryan Cooper was in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle (Listed) 4yo plus at Punchestown, moving to a 5/4 favourite on the course. He chased the leader from the start, moved up to second place and took the lead two from the end, he pushed on and “headed before the last”, keeping on the same pace in the final run in to take 2nd, four and a quarter lengths behind. Thunder and Roses, again owned by Gigginstown House Stud and under Bryan Cooper was in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle 4yo plus. The 4/1 joint favourite chased the leader, progressed throughout and “challenged entering the straight”, taking the lead before the last and finished in 2nd place, one length behind.

The next weekend, Guitar Pete under Barry Geraghty was in the Gala Retail Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 4yo, the first race of the Hennessy Gold Cup day. He chased the clear leader from the start and progressed to second after the second hurdle, he went on to challenge and led coming into the straight and kept on in the final run in, winning the race, his first Grade 1, two and a quarter lengths in front. “Barry last teamed up successfully with Dessie almost five years ago”. Dessie said afterwards, “he's [Guitar Pete] very honest, loves that trip and just gallops. He did it well when winning at Christmas and has done everything right since and the ground was the only thing today; he had never ran on ground as heavy as this but it didn't seem to bother him...You couldn't ask for much better today and there were some good horses and it was a very true run race. He's proven his worst now and will go for the Triumph Hurdle next - Our Conor might have a bit more speed but this lad grinds it out and jumps exceptionally well.” In the second race of the day, Irish Stallion Farms EBF (M) Handicap Hurdle (Rated 81-123) 4yo plus, Lipinski owned and trained by Dessie and under G B Noonan led from the start, and was joint leader halfway to push on and take the lead again entering the home straight, kept on well under pressure in the final run in and headed towards the end, taking 2nd place, half a length behind.

The following Sunday in Navan, Bright New Dawn was in the Flyingbolt Novice Steeplechase (Grade 2) 5yo plus under Bryan Cooper and owned by Gigginstown House Stud. He began competing for the lead and headed before the fourth, progressing to take the lead when entering the straight, and kept on well in the final run in to win by seven lengths, giving Bright New Dawn, the 5/4 favourite a second Grade 2 win. Dessie said afterwards, “I'm pleased with that and for a free horse he showed a bit of bottle and he battled when he needed to...He is a horse with gears and he jumps quickly and he showed today he was quick enough for two miles. I'm happy to go any trip with him, even three miles, but on good ground over two miles he might be out 'on the top of his head'. “Today's race and heavy ground suited but I don't know about Cheltenham but he looks an ideal horse for the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse and for Punchestown.”

Rock’s Field was in Punchestown under Bryan Cooper in the Festival Any Day Flexi Ticket Mares Maiden Hurdle 5yo plus. She soon chased the leader and led before the sixth, kept on well and eased off closer to home, winning by two and a quarter lengths. Dessie said afterwards, “The visor helped Rock’s Field today as the last day she didn't want to race for whatever reason. She was left well behind then although she finished running on well...She carried Bryan much better with the visor on today and he kept her wide as the ground has got quite chopped up.” Two races later and Flight Plan under JJ King was in the Family Saturday At The Festival Flat Race 4yo. She began in fourth and moved to third after 6 out, improving to challenge and kept on the same pace throughout to take 2nd place, two lengths behind.

Lipinski under GB Noonan was in Thurles in the first race of the day, thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle 5yo plus. She was prominent and had a “narrow advantage” of a trio three out, headed after two and kept on the same pace in the final run in to take 3rd, seven lengths behind.

Si C’etait Vrai under Bryan Cooper and owned by Gigginstown House Stud was in Fairyhouse Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Steeplechase 5yo plus. He tracked the leaders from the start, moving to second and improved to take the lead, was well in the clear from the fourth and stayed on strong to win by twenty lengths. Dessie said afterwards, “It was overdue...He's a grand staying jumping horse and we like him...He'll run in the four miler as it's a nice race for him and he should get the trip."

Somethingwonderful again under Bryan Cooper and owned by Gigginstown House Stud was in the second race at Naas on the last Sunday of the month, in the Best Odds In Your PaddyPower Shop Handicap Hurdle 4yo plus. He chased the leaders from the start and moved up to third before the straight. Riding strong between the last two hurdles, Bryan Cooper lost his whip before the final flight, but used “hands and heels” on the final run in to take 2nd place, half a length behind.

In the last week, Giantofaman was in Thurles in the Boylesports Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 5yo plus under Paul Carberry. He led from the start but disputed at the fifth, pulling back up in to the lead gaining a narrow advantage and was clear before the last, going on to win comfortably by eight lengths. This is Dessies’s third year in a row for winning the Grade 2 at Thurles. Dessie said afterwards, “He jumped great for Paul. He's improved...He goes well in front, though you could probably ride him any way now...There are plenty of novice races for him at Fairyhouse and Punchestown.”