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Russell digs out victory

Dedigout benefited from an excellent ride from Davy Russell to emerge victorious in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

Trained by Tony Martin for Gigginstown House Stud, the six-year-old was held up off the pace in the early stages by the champion jockey-elect and made ground rounding the turn for home. He was one of four in a line jumping the final obstacle.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Colour Squadron always looked the biggest threat, but Dedigout found plenty for pressure to come home with two lengths in hand. Lyreen Legend and Rebel Fitz were third and fourth respectively.

Martin said: "I had intended to run him in the three-mile race, but the two bosses (Michael and Eddie O'Leary) thought it would be better to run in this.

"He missed every hurdle at Naas, but things worked out today. He jumps his hurdles big and safe and looks a nice prospect for chasing. He should develop into a nice staying chaser."

Russell added: "I'm over the moon, all credit goes to Tony Martin. I felt he'd had enough after he ran at Naas and we worked him a few times and he disappointed.

"Then Tony put a tongue-tie on him and we rode him with a little bit of patience and he has transformed from being a bad jumper to a good jumper that stays very well on heavy ground. It's very pleasing."

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