Saturday, 7 October 2017

Gordon Elliott's 'miraculous mare' Fayonagh makes long-awaited hurdles bow

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Festival hero Fayonagh will attempt to advance her chances of a returning victory at Cheltenham, as the Champion Bumper is odds-on to take Fairyhouse’s Jumps Racing Returns To Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle (3:25).

Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old won impressively in an Irish listed contest, before her hugely impressive and eyecatching victory in the Champion Bumper; making the mare head no less than five markets for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Under Jamie Codd, she overcame plenty of traffic issues to fly home and land the Grade One contest in the final few strides.

She went on to win once again at the top level, taking Punchestown’s bumper contest in impressive style by just under six lengths.

She has been labelled as a superstar by some, and plenty will be watching as Davy Russell takes the ride on her hurdling debut.

“Fayonagh makes her seasonal debut here making the switch to hurdles after four Bumper wins, two of which were Grade 1s,” Elliott told his Betfair blog.

“We have never been in doubt of her ability but her performance at the Cheltenham Festival was nothing short of miraculous after getting left at the start she powered home under Jamie Codd to win the Champion Bumper comfortably.

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Fayonagh's Champion Bumper win completed a double on the day for Jamie Codd, who also won the Cross Country with Cause Of Causes

“She's been doing plenty of schooling at home and obviously if she encounters no problems jumping wise it would be hard to see her getting beaten.”

Although no clear target has been made clear by Gordon Elliott, bookmakers are taking no chances with the exceptional mare heading the market in five Festival races.

The Supreme, Mares Novice, Neptune, Albert Bartlett and Mares could all be options for Fayonagh in March. The shortest of those prices is the Mares Novice, where she is priced at 4-1.

This afternoon she has been installed as a 1-7 favourite for the two-mile event.

She should have too much quality to see off bumper winners Roseriver Has, Vittorio and Mysloegin.

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