Fingal Bay forced to work for chasing debut win
FINGAL BAY, beaten just once over hurdles in the Grade 1 Sefton Hurdle at Aintree, made a winning start to his chasing career, justifying 8-13 favouritism and beating home Tiger O'Toole - who made the Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old work for it after the last.
With the Paul Nicholls-trained Poungach falling at the first, the race lost the horse, on hurdles form, most capable of challenging Fingal Bay, and he schooled round in front of his rivals who didn't look to put him under pressure.
He jumped well, but landing off the back of the last Paul Moloney had a real crack at the favourite, closing to within a length and a half but in truth there wasn't a moment's worry for the only horse to have beaten Simonsig.
Hobbs said: "That was a good start to his career over fences. I was delighted with his jumping. He idled after the last, but he'd been in front all the way so that was understandable.
"The plan is to run in the two mile four furlong Rising Stars novice chase at Wincanton or the two mile five at the Paddy Power meeting."
It was a workmanlike performance, but having proved he can jump a fence BetVictor cut him to 8-1 (from 10) for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with the race exactly five months away on March 13.