Ferny Hollow Proves All Class In Grade 1 Chase
Ferny Hollow (6g Westerner - Mirazur, by Good Thyne) produced what Willie Mullins described as “an awesome performance” to land the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase on the opening day of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.
The Grade 1 Champion Bumper winner, who won his sole start over hurdles last season, made a successful start over fences at Punchestown earlier this month and was sent off favourite on Sunday. Jumping well throughout under Paul Towend, he made all and always did enough to hold off Riviere D’etel, who received 13 pounds from the winner and previously boasted an unbeaten chase record.
Willie Mullins was impressed by his charge, saying, “I thought it was a huge performance to give that weight to a filly that nobody's got near to all season. Coming back off an 11-month break and then only a three-week gap, I was worried all week that I was asking him too much to come back so soon. So everything was against him and he still pulled it out of the bag.”
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding is now 6/4 favourite for the Arkle Chase. Bred by Kenneth Parkhill, the son of Westerner first showcased his talents when bolting up on his sole start for Colin Bowe, who subsequently sold him for £300,000.
A competitive day’s racing produced another three winners by Castlehyde Stud sire Westerner, including Richmond Lake (Westerner - Chic Milan, by Milan) who drew clear in the two and a half mile novices’ hurdle at Sedgefield.
Sent off favourite under Brian Hughes, the Donald McCain-trained bay obliged by 27 lengths to make it two from three over fences. Owned by Exors of the late Trevor Hemmings, he was bred by JR Weston.