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Morning Assembly in a race to qualify for the Foxhunters

Morning Assembly in a race to qualify for the Foxhunters

A Grade One-winning novice hurdler and a Grade Two winner in his debut season over fences when he defeated Don Cossack at Punchestown, the ultra-consistent Morning Assembly has already proven to be a great servant for his connections.
The lightly raced 11-year-old has rarely been out of the top three on his fifteen runs under runs.

Unlucky with setbacks in the past, time on the sidelines and age has not dulled the Shantou gelding's spark, returning from a 20 month absence at Dungarvan last month for his first outing between the flags, and first start since finishing eighth behind Rule The World in the 2016 Grand National at Aintree.

Forced to settle for second best on the day at the Waterford venue, behind the two times points winner Rue Hill, Morning Assembley was ridden by the trainer's son Conor and is evidently still relishing his job.

His Co. Carlow-based trainer took only positives from the run and was sure improvement was to come.

"I was delighted, it was great run. Conor wasn't overly hard on him, as it was his first run back and we knew he would improve off that."

And improve he did, running out an easy winner in last weekend’s open at Kirkistown in good company. Fahy feels more improvement is likely and was delighted with his charge post-race.

"He was like a young horse after the race, it didn't take much out of him. He has come out of it great so we could not be happier.

"It has always been the plan to go to Cheltenham for the Foxhunters. Now we just have to qualify.

“Steven Parkin's (owner) said if Conor could get his weight down he could have the ride on him.  It would be great for everyone to get to Cheltenham and a bit of craic."

With the cutoff date of February 26th looming, a quick turnaround is necessary as one more open win is needed in order to allow him to take his chances in this year's running of the prestigious race. 

It will down to the eleventh hour, waiting until next Sunday's fixture for a last grasp effort, where the pressure will be on.

"It will be like the Grand National. If all goes to plan it will be great. Whatever about the rest of us, Conor will sweating anyway."

A definite class act, few of his potential opponents at Cheltenham will have achieved as much as Morning Assembly has already done, and should he get the nod to line-up at Prestbury Park next month, there will be plenty of people viewing his current odds of 20/1 as real value.

Cheltenham is clearly the main target for this season however, if the plan does not come off Fahy will not be too despondent.

"He would Lots of options which is great. He is entered for the Irish National also, it would be lovely to come back for that."

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