Mullins hoping for another Fabulous performance
Guinness Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) | 3m, 4yo+ | ATR
Fabulous Saga's 70-length demolition of a decent Grade 3 field at Cork earlier this month – on a day where the officials at the track were forced to abandon their last two races due to safety concerns with some unrelenting weather – will go down as one of the most impressive and equally perplexing performances of the year.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding is clearly a talented sort, but such an exaggerated winning margin suggests he was the only horse in the field to handle the gruelling conditions.
His rider Danny Mullins was afforded the luxury of easing his mount down to a walk when passing the winning line that day, but he can be expected to face a sterner test in the feature race on the card here, the Grade 2 Guinness Novice Hurdle.
The champion trainer is also represented by Ainsi Va La Vie in the five-runner contest. An impressive winner of a 2m7f maiden hurdle at Thurles last month, the Supreme Racing Club-owned mare will be partnered by Brian Hayes.
Speaking of his pair, Mullins said: "Fabulous Saga was a revelation at Cork and if that run hasn't taken too much out of him he should be hard to beat.
"Ainsi Va La Vie didn't seem to handle the track at Galway first time over hurdles but she won very well at Thurles and comes here in good form. She is getting weight off Fabulous Saga and is definitely in with a chance."
On the receiving end of that 70-length thumping at Cork was Gordon Elliott's Burren Life, who takes his chance again alongside the stable's Delta Work.
Elliott said: "Burren Life was well behind Fabulous Saga the last day, but he's in good form and should run his race, but to be fair, I'd say Delta Work is the pick of our two runners. He is fit and well and I'd say the step up in trip will suit him."
The field is completed by Noel Meade's Minella Fair, an impressive winner of a Punchestown maiden hurdle over 2m6f last time and a winner of a Limerick bumper last Christmas. Meade said: "He's in good form and we’re hoping that he gets the trip."
Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on racingpost.com