Ahead of the new National Hunt season picking up a gear, Patrick Mullins has provided an update on two of their point-to-point recruits that are expected to spearhead their team of novice hurdlers for the season ahead.
Following his success in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last March, the hurdling debut of Ferny Hollow is already eagerly awaited as the Westerner gelding, who was successful in a four-year-old maiden for Colin Bowe, looks to emulate fellow Cheveley Park Stud-owned pointing graduate Envoi Allen.
“He ran a cracker in the Champion Bumper and ran all the way to the line,” said Patrick Mullins when speaking at an online Horse Racing Ireland season launch.
“The first day we rode him normally at Fairyhouse and he was very keen and he hung very badly which is really what got him beat.
“The next day at Leopardstown we said we would jump out and let him settle by going forward and he settled better but he still did a little too much.
“So then on the third day we said right we will stick a hood on him and drop him in last and that was the key to him.
“He settled completely then and I was actually having to shove him along after half a mile, he fell asleep altogether.
“Then of course Paul (Townend) did the same in Cheltenham and dropped him out, the hood seems to be a big help. Paul gave him a fantastic ride.
“I think the hood seems to settle him better, he has won a point-to-point and will jump a fence in time no problem, I would imagine over hurdles where they tend to go a faster gallop that will help him to settle.
“Ferny Hollow is probably the Supreme or Neptune horse depending on how it goes.”
With the Champion Bumper winner likely to stick to shorter trips, Mullins indicated that his own mount from the Champion Bumper, Appreciate It, who two and a half lengths behind in second, is now likely to step up in trip.
A Grade 2 winner at the Dublin Racing Festival, six-year-old Jeremy gelding won his four-year-old maiden for Pat Doyle.
“Appreciate It will probably step up in trip, he won over two and a half miles at Leopardstown over Christmas,” added Mullins.
“He settles fine and he has huge cruising speed with a big long stride. For me he is probably the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett horse.”