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John Ferguson's Ruacana ran out a lucky winner of the Grade 1 Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle

Updated: Saturday, 05 Jan 2013 17:44 | Comments

Swnymor fell, hampering Megalypos (right) and leaving Ruacana (black) to score. Swnymor appeared to have the race in the bag until falling at the last Ruacana was a fortunate winner of the Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow
Swnymor fell, hampering Megalypos (right) and leaving Ruacana (black) to score. Swnymor appeared to have the race in the bag until falling at the last Ruacana was a fortunate winner of the Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow

Ruacana provided John Ferguson with a first Grade 1 win in his training career in the coral.co.uk Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

Ferguson is better known in his long-standing role as Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor but started training a few Godolphin cast-offs and a handful of other horses only two years ago having previously handled point-to-pointers.

Some in his stable are real blue-bloods but not all take to the winter game like Ruacana, formerly with Michael Bell.

He was a fortunate winner, however, as Tim Vaughan's Swnymor had just claimed the lead from Megalypos on the run to the final flight when he took a crashing fall.

The tumbling Richard Johnson interfered with Megalypos which allowed Ruacana and Denis O'Regan to come through and claim victory from Caid Du Berlais by a length and a quarter.

It was O'Regan's second Grade One win of the season after Countrywide Flame took the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.

"He was consistent for Michael Bell and it was very kind of his owner to lease him to Bloomfields (Stud, in whose colours the winner ran)," said Ferguson of the 100-30 scorer.

"On his Flat form I had a strong feeling he would go in the ground and I thought Denis gave him a smashing ride - although we did have a bit of luck on our side.

"We'll get him home and then decide what we do next. Obviously everyone wants to have runners at Cheltenham, but there's no point just going there for the sake of it and we'll see how things pan out."

Victor Dartnall was out of luck with Giles Cross in the Welsh National but enjoyed his first winner since his string returned to action when Seebright (9-2) took the concluding bumper.

An outbreak of equine herpes has meant Dartnall's season has barely got of the ground but he has a promising youngster on his hands in the shape of the Ryan Mahon-ridden winner.

"I'm so delighted. I thought he was well. I was pleased with Giles Cross but he just got a bit tired and Denis (O'Regan) pulled him up," said Dartnall.

"It's our first winner back so it's onwards and upwards.

"The stable are back in good health but some need a bit more time. In the next fortnight we'll just tread carefully and then we'll really start to get going.

"I think I'll run this lad in a three-mile hurdle next."

The Paul Nicholls-trained Keppols Hill (10-11 favourite) could have the Welsh National as an aim one day after showing stamina in abundance in the Coral Beginners' Chase.

Nicholls was represented by his assistant Dan Skelton who said: "He handled the ground and for a horse who'd had those jumping hiccups he was very good at his fences.

"He stays and keeps pulling out more, and will obviously be suited by extreme distances. It would be no surprise if he ended up running in the Welsh National one day."

Venetia Williams' horses continue to run well and Carrickboy (7-1) relished the drop in trip in the Coral Mobile Text "Mobile" To 82211 Handicap Chase.

"What he needs is two and a half miles where they go flat out in testing conditions. He ran well at Haydock, but it never happens for him over three. Today it was fortunate he met the last couple on the right stride," said Williams.

Rebecca Curtis and Tony McCoy were just touched off in the big race with Teaforthree but earlier combined to win the Maiden Hurdle with O'Faolains Boy (7-2).

Curtis said: "I shall probably give him another run over the same sort of trip and then look at the two Cheltenham options."

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