Fingal Bay leads a classy novice crop
When Simonsig coasted up to challenge Fingal Bay at Sandown yesterday, it seemed clear that a new star was about to announce himself. The twist was that the star was Fingal Bay.
After winning his first three starts, the odds-on favourite for the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle was off the bridle and hard at work between the last two flights. Barry Geraghty remained motionless on Simonsig, looking as though he could pick off the leader at his whim. But Fingal Bay flew the last hurdle and suddenly was opening up again on the climb to the line, ultimately seeing off Simonsig by nearly three lengths, the pair clear.
Simonsig could yet confirm himself among the season's top novices with the emphasis back on speed – whether on better ground or over shorter distances. But Fingal Bay is already setting standards at two and a half miles, and will do better still granted a stronger pace or longer trip. Philip Hobbs, his trainer, is now likely to target the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year's Eve.
Hobbs was dismayed, however, to see Quinz run another lifeless race in the Sportingbet Future Stars Chase. Bostons Angel, winner of the RSA Chase last season, was never engaging properly and trailed in last of three finishers, and Jessica Harrington will try blinkers in the Lexus Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting.
Though the race rather fell into the lap of Golan Way, at least his fine attitude has earned him a place in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Down at Exeter, meanwhile, Walkon added his name to what already looks a vintage crop of novice chasers. After such a trying December last year, the sport can bask in its good fortune this time round.
Latest in Sport
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015 Third Test Day One report: England skittle Australia for 136, James Anderson takes six wickets, Ian Bell hits half-century
Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester United: Sergio Ramos is only defender of interest to Louis van Gaal
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading indepen...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Systems Administrator is requ...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre Scho...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...