Fil Dor fights off challenge from Sharjah to claim victory in Gowran Trial

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Ridden by Jordan Gainford, the grey had previously enjoyed a highly successful hurdling career as a four-year-old - finishing second in Grade One juvenile contests at Cheltenham and Punchestown.

A graduation to fences has not been unsuccessful, with the five-year-old a winner on debut and then third in the Racing Post Novice Chase, but he was well beaten by El Fabiolo in the Irish Arkle when last seen. On his return to hurdles, Fil Dor was a 4-1 shot in a field of six and was in the company of stablemate Doctor Bravo and 4-7 favourite Sharjah turning for home. The former horse faded after the final flight, leaving Fil Dor to put his head down and hold off Sharjah for a half-length success. "He is a smart horse who had a little blip the last day over fences and it is great to see him come back and enjoy it," said Gainford. "You could scratch his last run as it wasn't himself and he got into a lovely rhythm out there today. "He jumped very well and when it came down to the battle, he saved plenty for it." Ian Amond, Elliott's assistant, added: "He didn't look like he was in love with the fences the last day, so Gordon and Andy (Brown, of owners Caldwell Construction Ltd) decided to come back over hurdles to get confidence back into him. "He'll probably stay down the hurdles route now after today and we'll see what Gordon says about running at Cheltenham. "There is plenty of time to go back over fences later on but after winning there, you'd be surprised if he goes back over fences this season."

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