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Richard Johnson punches the air as Fingal Bay strikes at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Fingal Bay fits bill for Hennessy says Hobbs

PHILIP HOBBS has lit up the season with a series of super Saturday successes and the trainer has high hopes Fingal Bay can grab another slice of the limelight in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

Much of the pre-race build-up has focussed on the Willie Mullins-trained Djakadam, who has been backed into general 11-2 favourite, but Hobbs feels his Grade 1 hurdle winner ticks a lot of boxes for the Newbury showpiece.

“He’s in very good form and, hopefully, is still progressive,” the trainer said.

Fingal Bay is a best-priced 9-1 to win the Hennessy on his first chase start for two years. On his last chase run he ran out three fences from home when sent off the 1-12 favourite at Exeter and the following week he was diagnosed with a minor tendon injury, which ruled him out for the rest of that season.

After a long layoff, the eight-year-old returned over hurdles in February and went on to win the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.

Having shown his liking for testing ground, the soft conditions at Newbury should be right up his street. Hobbs added: “It's very competitive but I'm hopeful because the soft ground is right for him in that he stays extremely well. He has a good chance.”

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