Fingal handed weekend option

  • Last Updated: January 27 2014, 15:00 GMT

Fingal Bay, a surprise entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, could have his first start for 421 days at Sandown on Saturday.

Philip Hobbs: Has entered Fingal Bay for Sandown
Philip Hobbs: Has entered Fingal Bay for Sandown

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Trained by Philip Hobbs, the eight year old has been sidelined with injury and hasn't been seen in competitive action on the racecourse since running out in a novice chase at Exeter in December 2012.

A very smart novice, he was unbeaten in his first five starts under Rules which included a defeat of Simonsig at the Esher venue in the Grade Two Winter Novices' Hurdle.

He emerged as a surprise contender for the World Hurdle crown when the entries were revealed and he could take a first step towards that objective this weekend.

Fingal Bay is one of 13 possibles for the Betfred Mobile And Levy Board Heroes Handicap Hurdle over two miles and six furlongs, a race his stable has taken twice in the last seven runnings and Hobbs reports his charge to be in good shape.

"He is very much an intended runner on Saturday and he seems in very good form," said the Minehead handler.

"He's been back with me for about four months and he had a couple of months (in pre-training) before that, so hopefully he is well up to speed. We're looking forward to getting him back on the track."

"I suppose that [the World Hurdle] looks unlikely at this stage, we'll just wait and see how he gets on this Saturday," he added.

Hobbs could also be represented by Pateese while Paul Nicholls has a strong hand with the highly rated Black River joined in the entry by the highly progressive Saphir Du Rheu who is also entered for the stayers' showpiece at Cheltenham.

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