/ Racing

Fingal Bay set to return at Punchestown

Updated: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 16:55 | Comments

Richard Johnson (nearest) on Fingal Bay after winning the Pertemps Final Handicap
Richard Johnson (nearest) on Fingal Bay after winning the Pertemps Final Handicap

Philip Hobbs is ready to let Fingal Bay return to Grade One level in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

The eight-year-old spent over a year on the sidelines with an injury before making a winning comeback at Exeter in early February and he followed up with a thrilling victory in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.

He is likely to face a far sterner task in Ireland, however, with Willie Mullins' incredible mare Quevega potentially bidding for a fifth consecutive victory in this three-mile Grade One event.

"It is pretty likely that Fingal Bay will go to Punchestown for the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle,” Hobbs said.

"He came out of Cheltenham brilliantly and is in really good form at the moment, but it will be a hot race.

"We are hoping he can improve again, but this is an experiment to see what level he is at over hurdles or whether he needs to go back over fences."

Quevega is one of eight entries for champion trainer Mullins, with Annie Power, Diakali and Thousand Stars also in contention.

The Rebecca Curtis-trained At Fishers Cross and Paul Nicholls' Zarkandar also feature among the 20 entries for the 200,000 euro contest.

Hayley O'Connor of Ladbrokes said: "We're thrilled to see the A-lister entries for our race, with strong British contenders in the mix.

"Quevega's command of the race could face a ferocious challenge and it may shape up to be one of the highlights of the week."

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