Fahey duo take weekend Festival tests

Peter Fahey hopes Saturday will crystallise his Cheltenham Festival plans for at least two of his horses.

The Big Doyen, owned by the Money For Jam Syndicate, has produced two impressive victories at Roscommon and Punchestown, winning the latter event by 15 lengths, and is as low as 10-1 for the Champion Bumper.

Fahey was planning to head straight to Cheltenham next month, but is set to run him in the ultra-competitive Grade Two Goffs Future Stars (C&G) INH Flat Race at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival.

The five-year-old is poised to face six rivals, each of whom won last time out, including the Willie Mullins-trained Facile Vega, who is current favourite for the Champion Bumper at 2-1 with Sky Bet.

Fahey said: “The Big Doyen is in good nick and he will go to the Dublin Racing Festival.

“I have been very pleased with him. His last bits of work have been very good and he has strengthened up.

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“He has had a decent break and this will tell us where we are with him before we look at the Cheltenham Festival.”

The Irishman is also hopeful that Born Patriot can punch his ticket when he heads to Sandown for the valuable Virgin Bet Heroes Handicap Hurdle.

Born Patriot has not run since chasing home Kansas City Chief over three miles at Cheltenham in October.

Fahey hopes the Grade Three contest over an extended two miles and seven furlongs will demonstrate the six-year-old’s Festival claims.

He added: “Born Patriot is in good form. He had a nice run in the Pertemps Qualifier at Cheltenham on his second run back this season in October.

“We have given him a little break and he goes to Sandown.

“It is a competitive race, but he has a nice weight with Easysland running, so it keeps his weight well below 11st (10st 11lb).

“He is a very lightly-raced horse and I think he will run a nice race over there.

“He is borderline for getting into the Pertemps Hurdle and if he happened to run well and get a couple of pounds, he will go for the Pertemps at Cheltenham.”

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