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Shock victory for Focus


Fiscal Focus

Fiscal Focus

Fiscal Focus

Fiscal Focus caused a major upset in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown as he put the odds-on Kalkir in his place at odds of 33-1.

Kalkir was unsurprisingly a warm order as the 4-7 favourite for the Grade Two, having made a smooth start to his jumping career in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month, propelling him towards the top of the Triumph Hurdle market.

The Willie Mullins runner moved well for much of the journey, but Fiscal Focus was travelling even better as he led rounding the home turn under Mikey Fogarty and he skipped over the last to win by two lengths, with Kalkir unable to make an impression.

The winner was making his jumping bow for Des McDonogh, having previously been trained by Jim Bolger on the Flat.

McDonogh's legendary hurdler Monksfield was actually beaten in the same race early in his brilliant career and the trainer hopes his latest winner could earn himself a trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

The handler said: "It's been a long time since Monksfield ran in this race. He probably had too much Christmas pudding and didn't run too well.

"I've not been to Cheltenham since 1987 and said I wouldn't go back unless I had a runner. I'll have to sit down and talk with Jim (Bolger) before we decide what to do. I've known Jim for many, many years. He's a great friend and he's been very good to me.

"I haven't seen the likes of Monksfield around us for a long time. I'd love to go back to Cheltenham. He jumped great for his first run over hurdles and has beaten one of the favourites for the Triumph Hurdle. I'm still in a bit of shock!

" Good horses are easy to train and he's come from a very good academy. He loves soft ground. He was prepared so well for me to take over and they did get Annie Power out of there, so they know how to do it. We've a lovely horse (Theophilus) tomorrow, too."

Fogarty added: "I rode him a couple of weeks ago at home and I was really looking forward to him. He's loads of pace and he schooled very well. It's great for Mr Bolger as well because he's a good supporter of mine. For a horse to beat 10 winners without a run is a fair achievement.

"He's done a bit at home so it wasn't that much of a shock to him. He travelled all over everything. Ideally I would have loved a bit more company turning in. I just had to go, and a good jump at the last sealed it for me. I'm delighted."