Ferny Hollow Tops Super Saturday For Westerner
A change of tactics and a first-time hood saw the Willie Mullins-trained Ferny Hollow (5g Westerner - Mirazur, by Good Thyne) stamp his class in Saturday’s bumper at Fairyhouse.
Bought for £300,000 after a wide-margin point-to-point victory for Colin Bowe, he finished second on his first two starts for Cheveley Park Stud, having raced keenly on both occassions. Sent off favourite for the promise he had shown, he benefitted from a hold-up ride by Patrick Mullins, who gradually improves his position from halfway to lead approaching the final furlong. He extended his advantage to four and a quarter lengths on the line, with minimum fuss.
Speaking after the race, the winning trainer said, “He's a horse that has shown us a lot of ability at home but he was just using himself up too much in his previous races and we just decided to settle him today.”
A trip to Cheltenham is a possibility for the Kenneth Parkhill-bred winner, who continues an excellent run of form for his sire Westerner. The Castlehyde Stud stallion also sired a maiden double on the day at Armagh, with Ranieri (5g Westerner - Carrigmoorna Storm, by Glacial Storm) completing the first leg in the Five-Year-Old Maiden.
Making his third start, the Warren Ewing owned and trained bay produced a late effort to win by a neck, denying his short-priced stablemate and providing young rider Connor Rabbitt with his first winner. Bred by Michael Veale, Ranieri also becomes the first winner out of his dam, who comes from the family of Gaye Brief.
Westy Fox (6g Westerner - Brogarais, by Presenting) was another to appreciate the heavy ground at Farmaclaffley and got off the mark at the third time of asking. Trained by Jim Dreaper for the Knockalough Syndicate, the bay prevailed by a length, with a further eight lengths back to the third horse.
The first foal bred by Thomas Ward out of the mare Brogarais, his success bodes well for his five-year-old full-brother who cost €105,000 as a store, while his yearling brother by Soldier Of Fortune sold for €17,000 in November.