/ Racing

Gerdago and Minella Foru on song in Navan

Updated: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 15:45 | Comments

Minella Foru ridden by Tony McCoy (far right) comes home to win the second race of the day
Minella Foru ridden by Tony McCoy (far right) comes home to win the second race of the day

It may be asking a bit much to emulate the exploits of last year's winner of the Follow Navan Racecourse On Facebook 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle, but Gerdago nonetheless looks an above-average sort.

Dessie Hughes' Our Conor blitzed his rivals in this Navan heat 12 months ago and while Gerdago (3-1) did not leave the same lasting impression, Ken Condon's three-year-old is improving with racing.

Gerdago, who was having this third start over hurdles, could have been called the winner some way out and beat the staying-on Moss Street by 13 lengths.

The Hughes-trained Indian Icon, who finished ahead of Condon's inmate at Thurles in October, was third as the even-money favourite.

Condon said of the Eddie O'Connell-ridden winner: "We had been thinking of the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March for him but we might go for a Graded race at Fairyhouse in December first and see how he gets on.

"It wasn't ideal as he had to make the running, but he's a real strong stayer and we didn't want a false pace. I'm delighted."

"I'm just trying to get on with my job now and I'm trying to ride another 998 winners and then I can have another day!" - AP McCoy

Minella Foru (11-8) maintained his unbeaten record by outsprinting Very Wood in an unsatisfactory renewal of the Boylesports.com Quick Bet Racing 'For Auction' Novice Hurdle.

Only four went to post in the Grade Three and Davy Russell was a reluctant leader on Noel Meade's highly-touted Very Wood but he continually jumped out to his right.

It was not until the pace quickened in the home straight that Very Wood's jumping became straighter but record-breaking jockey Tony McCoy tracked him into the straight aboard Minella Foru.

Eddie Harty's four-year-old, winner of his only point-to-point and on his hurdling debut at Limerick, showed the better turn of foot after the final flight to win by one and a half lengths.

Minella Foru was given a 16-1 quote by Paddy Power for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

McCoy, who secured 4,000 victories over jumps at Towcester on Thursday, was given a rousing reception upon his return to the Navan winner's enclosure.

He said: "It's all a bit embarrassing, to be honest.

"I'm just trying to get on with my job now and I'm trying to ride another 998 winners and then I can have another day!

"He's a smart horse but it was a messy race and turned into a bit of a sprint, the second is a smart horse too and it won't have suited him either."

Harty said: "I'm delighted with that. I'm delighted for JP (McManus) and to give AP (McCoy) a winner after his 4,000.

"Hopefully there is more to come with this horse. We will look for something next month at Fairyhouse or Leopardstown at Christmas.

"JP (McManus, owner) is as happy as he could be with him as it was a muddling race.

"We will stay at two miles for now, but having won his point-to-point we can go further."

Harty and McCoy had high hopes Captain Cee Bee could register his 14th success in the Boylesports.com Download Our App Lismullen Hurdle but having his first start over two and a half miles his stamina gave way as he finished third behind Dedigout (9-2).

Russell gave Tony Martin's seven-year-old a very patient ride but was only on board after Rule The World was taken out on Saturday afternoon.

Settled in fourth, he looked to be labouring for a few strides in the straight as eventual runner-up Mala Beach swept clear of Captain Cee Bee and Un Beau Matin.

However, Dedigout picked up impressively, and the versatile gelding came away to win by a length and three-quarters.

The winner holds an entry in the Hennessy Gold Cup and was cut to 14-1 from 20s for the Newbury event by BetVictor.

Martin said "That's his ground. He leaped brilliant. He won well last year in his first race then lost his confidence."

Robbie Colgan was on Mala Beach but then teamed up with Martin to win the St Johann Ski Resort Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle on Spacious Sky (10-1).

A disappointment when sent off favourite last time out, he came with a strong late run to catch Big Generator deep inside the final furlong.

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