- Horse Racing
Impressive Dynaste topples Fingal Bay
Dynaste made a sparking debut over fences with a comprehensive defeat of Fingal Bay in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase.
The Cheltenham contest has thrown up some top-class winners, Gold Cup stars Imperial Commander and Denman have taken the race, and Dynaste may have pretentions to scale such heights.
Trainer Phillip Hobbs rates Fingal Bay as good as he has ever trained and he was sent off favourite on the back of his debut fencing success. He travelled and jumped superbly for Richard Johnson and had the run of the race as he tracked Unioniste before taking up the running down the back straight.
Fingal Bay still had his ears pricked turning for home, but he had a shadow in the form of Dynaste who jumped like an old hand for Tom Scudamore.
Scudamore briefly had to switch Dynaste as Fingal Bay lugged to his left, but the rider had plenty in the tank.
Dynaste drew alongside Fingal Bay at the last before skipping clear up the Cheltenham hill.
"It was nice to get it over with," winning trainer David Pipe said. "He jumped well - they didn't go that quick - and he's quickened up well. He looked like he won a little bit cosily in the end.
"He's French and he's neat - we were pleased with his schooling at home. This is not his Gold Cup today and I'm sure he'll improve for it."
Ruby Walsh helped himself to a double on the card, with the highlight being the win of Dodging Bullets in the Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle.
A classy juvenile last term, Dodging Bullets was forced to make his own running but did so with aplomb and fended off River Maigue after the last. It is likely to be back to the drawing board for classy Flat operator Tominator who jumped with no enthusiasm and was tailed off.
Walsh instigated his double on Shooters Wood, trained like Dodging Bullets by Paul Nicholls, who took the Paddypower.com Handicap Chase.