Fingal Bay is one of the most exciting novice hurdlers witnessed on the track this season and trainer Phillip Hobbs believes he could be the best he has ever handled – high praise indeed. The unbeaten five-year old runs in the Class 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday (3.05) and will take all the beating. Last seen at Sandown a month ago Fingal Bay jumped fluently but looked in trouble when the well regarded Simonsig cruised up alongside him as they approached the final obstacle. Fingal Bay though showed a battling attitude to dig deep and prevail by almost three lengths. Prices for the Challow Hurdle are unknown as I write but should he prove too short for your liking then consider backing him for the Neptune Investment Managment Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March at odds of 5-1.
Walkon from the Alan King yard is entered in two races at the weekend and should be followed. Walkon finished last season with a whimper putting up an inanimate effort in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. The six-year old was reinvigorated however when making his debut over fences, jumping like a seasoned hand when routing the opposition in an Exeter novice chase a month ago. Zaynar was six-lengths behind in second place and the Victor Chandler owned grey has subsequently boosted Walkon’s form with a facile success in a Grade 2 contest at Ascot.
Another horse worth keeping onside at the weekend is Nicky Henderson’s well regarded Mono Man. The Seven Barrows trainer gave notice of the horse’s ability last term when stating “Mono Man will have a big future over hurdles. He is a serious horse”. The five-year old was a winner of two bumpers last season showing a good turn of foot in his Ascot triumph. On his seasonal appearance and hurdles debut in November Mono Man was third in a class 3 at Newbury displaying jumping inexperience. The juvenile will have learned from those errors and will soon be taking higher ranking in the hurdling sphere.