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Yesterday's action: Huntingdon: Dangerus in great shape for Triumph.

DANGERUS PRECEDENT consolidated his claims to serious consideration for the Elite Racing Club Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham next month with a faultless warm-up in the feature juvenile hurdle, writes Bruce Jackson.

Dean Gallagher was able to ease down and give the 1-3 favourite a congratulatory pat in the last 100 yards as he trounced fellow Triumph Hurdle entrant Albrighton.

Trainer Charlie Egerton was delighted and said: "He's the ideal horse for the Triumph. He is so tough and well-balanced."

Although Gallagher has been on top for four of Dangerus Precedent's five wins, owner Chris Brasher said Norman Williamson, who rode him to his Cheltenham win on New Year's Day, will be on board at the Festival.

Brasher hopes to banish the memory of his wife's Debutante Days, who fell at the first when favourite for the 1996 Triumph.

Coral and William Hill kept Dangerus Precedent at the pre-race 10-1 quote behind 9-2 favourite Katarino, who beat him at Cheltenham last November.

It was a day to forget for leading amateur Alan Dempsey, as he was denied a winner when No More Hassle fell at the last in the novice chase and Destin d'Estruval blundered away his hopes.

Instead, it was fellow amateur J P McNamara's day as he put behind him a 10-day ban 24 hours earlier to ride a double.

The 19-year-old Irishman scored on veteran Mr Boston in the hunter-chase and Oscail An Doras for trainer Ferdy Murphy, who brought the talented rider over this season.

McNamara has now ridden 11 winners from just 40 rides and Murphy rates him highly, which was easy to see after his handling of Oscail An Doras in the fast-run two-mile handicap chase.

Mr Boston's success was a fairytale, with trainer Bob Woodhouse reporting that the 14-year-old loved hunting after being fired to save him from retirement two years ago.

This former decent staying chaser had left Woodhouse to join Mary Reveley after a poor run in the Eider, but went lame and had been off the course for 635 days before this shock win.

Woodhouse said: "He'll go for the Cheltenham Foxhunter now and I'll be over the moon if he gets round. He was favourite for a Scottish National after finishing second to Laura's Beau in the Midlands National."

Robert Stronge's fortunes continue on the up and the former jockey sent out Berlin Blue for his first winner at the course, where he enjoyed plenty of success with trainer Peter Harris via the likes of Landing Board and Acarine.

Stronge was also linking up with owner Peter Douglas, for whom he won the Glenlivet Hurdle on the Peter Bevan-trained Salwan seven years ago as well as the juvenile hurdle on this card.

Stronge, who failed to saddle a winner last season, has now had three winners from five runners since Christmas following Berlin Blue's win in the novices' handicap hurdle.

Jenny Pitman continued her good run when Smarty landed the three-mile handicap chase at the expense of Yankie Lord, the horse Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has an interest in as one of The Boys In Red.

Mark Richards, without a winner in over 80 rides, saw his luck turn from bad to worse when he was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital for X-rays on his shoulder after being trampled in a fall from newcomer Agift in the mares' only maiden hurdle. The race went to the Martin-Pipe trained Nouveau Cheval, another winner from an outside source for the in-form Jimmy McCarthy.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Jackson, Bruce
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 26, 1999
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