Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow facing stiff test in 'fascinating contest'
12.15 Gowran Park
I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle | 2m | 5yo+| RTV
Willie Mullins has opted to keep it local for Ferny Hollow's eagerly anticipated hurdling debut by aiming the Champion Bumper hero at a maiden hurdle at Gowran Park on Friday.
It is a race Ireland's champion jumps trainer won four times on the trot between 2014 and 2017, but Ferny Hollow could face serious opposition with the highly regarded Henry de Bromhead-trained Bob Olinger in opposition.
Ferny Hollow is reported to have been schooling well under Paul Townend, and Patrick Mullins describes Friday's race as a "fascinating contest", adding: "Paul has schooled Ferny Hollow a couple of times at home and he's been very good.
"He's won a point-to-point and he seems to be a lot more mature this year. He's given us no problems but we're keeping the hood on him in his races."
Outlining his respect for Bob Olinger, Mullins said: "He's obviously a high-class prospect and it is a fascinating contest, but we're very happy with Ferny Hollow."
The twice-raced Bob Olinger – winner of a point-to-point and a bumper – lacks the same level of experience as Ferny Hollow, but is held in high regard by De Bromhead.
The trainer said: "We're looking forward to getting him started. He was good when he won his bumper at Gowran last season so we'll see how he gets on.”
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned Ferny Hollow is a 10-1 chance to emulate former stablemate Champagne Fever by following up his Champion Bumper success with victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March.
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