Peter Fahey hoping 'a bit of a gamble' can pay dividends for his improver

Ambitious Fellow: “He’ll run a big race”

Patrick McCann (

Saturday: 2.30 Galway
BoyleSports Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) | 2m7f | 4yo+ | RTV/TG4

Willie Mullins has been the trainer to follow in this Grade B handicap hurdle and he looks well placed to land a seventh win since 2013.

Mullins runs four with Paul Townend opting for La Prima Donna over stablemates Finest Evermore, Foveros and Whiskey Sour.

La Prima Donna has just one win since arriving at Closutton, an easy maiden hurdle victory at Tipperary last time, but has run with plenty of credit before that.

She ran a cracker on handicap debut at Fairyhouse’s Easter festival when just denied by Glan and may have finished closer to Camprond at Punchestown with a cleaner run through. She could exploit a mark of 129.

Mullins’ supporting cast isn’t too bad either. Foveros and Whiskey Sour are both course winners, while Finest Evermore looks an intriguing contender on handicap debut.

Peter Fahey’s horses couldn’t be in better form and the Kildare trainer looks to hold a leading chance with Ambitious Fellow. He proved his Punchestown festival win was no fluke with two solid showings since, including a good win at Roscommon.

Shark Hanlon won the Plate here on Wednesday and he may have more reason to celebrate with Hallowed Star. He was fifth here in a 1m4f maiden on Wednesday, and steps up to this trip under Rachael Blackmore.

Dermot O’Brien has just two horses in training, and what a special success it would be if Molly Wedger won. She was second at the festival last year off 11lb lower and is having a fine season after impressive wins at Listowel and Killarney. The return to 2m7f will likely play to her strengths and she sneaks in at the foot of the weights.

Digby won in good style at Fairyhouse in April and backed that up with a good showing in the Mayo Handicap Hurdle at Ballinrobe in May behind Metersandmasks (reserve).

Dermot McLoughlin’s charge carries just 10st 11lb, and runners near the bottom of the weights have a good recent record in this race, while Harry Fry sends over Boothill as the sole British-trained contender.

‘I think he’ll run a big race’

Peter Fahey is enjoying a brilliant week at the Galway festival and the trainer believes Ambitious Fellow will run a big race on his first try at the trip.

The gelding bounced back from 167 days on the sidelines with a game 40-1 win in the Red Mills Series Final at the Punchestown festival, and was second in a rated hurdle at Wexford before winning in good style at Roscommon last month.

Peter Fahey: “He has enough experience for a big handicap like this”

Patrick McCann (

The manner in which he hit the line suggests an increase in distance will be no problem and Fahey hopes the move will pay off.

Fahey said: “On his runs it looks as though the step up in trip will suit him. It’s a bit of a gamble, but he’s a horse that’s improving and I think he’ll run a big race.

“He had a great comeback at Punchestown and has had two nice runs since, and won nicely at Roscommon. The ground seems as though it’ll be just right.

“He’s a nice weight down the bottom. He’s straightforward enough and has enough experience for a big handicap like this.”

What they say

Harry Fry, trainer of Boothill
He’s had a wind op since his last run. He was unlucky not to win at Uttoxeter, and we’re hoping the step up in trip will bring some further improvement. It’s a good prize and a very competitive field. I hope he runs well.

John Ryan, trainer of The Little Yank
He’s in top form. He should stay the trip well. Harry Swan claims a valuable 7lb off him. He ran well over fences at Killarney and that should have him spot on. I think he’ll run well.

Shark Hanlon, trainer of Hallowed Star
He came out of the race on Wednesday brilliant. I think he was a bit unlucky, Patrick [Mullins] lost his reins up the straight. He’ll go there with a real chance and the new trip should suit him. I’m happy with him.

Emmet Mullins, trainer of Blackstair Rocco
He ran a cracker at Galway last year when just nipped on the line. He’s not too much higher in the handicap. He sneaked in at the bottom, so hopefully he should be competitive off that mark.

Brian Hayes, rider of Molly Wedger
She’s in good form. She handles the track well as we saw last year, so hopefully she’ll run a big race.

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