Tag Archive for: Mister Fogpatches

Fahy anticipating bold Irish National show from Mister Fogpatches

Pat Fahy is hoping cheekpieces will work the oracle for Mister Fogpatches in Monday’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

A close-up third to Longhouse Poet in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January, the eight-year-old has suffered a string of near misses this season and has managed to get his nose in front just once in 13 tries over fences.

However, finding good ground has been problematic and after finishing sixth on his last run in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham, connections feel headgear might help.

Fahy said: “He has lovely form and seems to be in good form. I’m happy with the ground. He might finally get his ground if the rain doesn’t come.

“Good ground helps his action and he can handle it very well, whereas other horses just mightn’t.

“It might give him a little bit of an advantage.”

Patrick Mullins was on board for his latest run, where he finished a fair sixth to Chambard, and Fahy added: “I was very happy with his run at Cheltenham, despite not being his ground.

“Patrick said that headgear might help him, because he lost concentration as much as everything. Cheekpieces might help him, so we are going with that.

“He wants to see what is going on. He is very inquisitive and Patrick felt at that part of the race, he would have to hush him on and he didn’t want to do that so far out, so he just lost his position.

“We have to go with the top man, you have to take advice from these sort of guys.”

Mister Fogpatches will shoulder a fighting weight of 10st 6lb with Danny Mullins taking the ride and hopes are high that he will develop into an Aintree contender next season.

“It would be nice to win a big one, but to win an Irish National would be something else,” said Fahy.

“He has the form, but has had a long season. If he arrives in the same form he was in for the Thyestes, I would imagine he would run a massive race. The ground didn’t help him. He struggles to jump out of soft ground and doesn’t jump with the same fluency – if it is good ground, it is no effort to him, he just floats over them.

“We think he’s a stayer and think he is an Aintree horse. We are trying to get one of these races, but it hasn’t worked out for us, so this will be the last hurrah, but really his main aim (next year) will be the Grand National.

“He will need to come up in the weights. If we ever could be sure we’d get in, we’ll be aiming for it for the rest of his career. He seems like that sort of horse.

“It would be lovely to arrive for that race fresh.”

Fahy hoping Gowran ground will favour Mister Fogpatches

Pat Fahy believes the ground is key to the chances of Mister Fogpatches in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran on Thursday.

Third in the Scottish Grand National before winning at Punchestown last spring, so far this term the grey has been placed in the Troytown at Navan, the Cork National and most recently at Cheltenham.

With just 10st on his back, less jockey Richie Deegan’s 3lb claim, Mister Fogpatches has plenty going for him in Thursday’s €100,000 feature and Fahy is hoping conditions continue to dry out.

He said: “The weather is very much in his favour, so I’m hoping we’ll get the ground.

“Richie knows him, has lots of experience and is taking the 3lb off. He did nothing wrong on him in the Troytown, so hopefully everything will go well.

“The horse has loads of experience now and he has a lovely weight on his back.

“It’s a lovely, galloping track and it’s a nice opportunity for him – as long as he gets the ground.”

Based locally at Leighlinbridge, Fahy would love to add his name to the roll of honour in the Gowran Park showpiece – but is keeping his feet on the ground.

“It would be great, I suppose. To win it, I think we’d realise the importance of it afterwards,” the trainer added.

“At the moment we’ll keep things on an even keel and get there and see how we get on.

“He’s got a great advantage with that weight and we’ll pray for the ground – that’s really what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned.”

Gordon Elliott’s Escaria Ten is a contender who would appreciate rain as he makes his seasonal debut in the contest under Adrian Heskin.

Escaria Ten (far left) during the National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase
Escaria Ten (far left) during the National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase (Michael Steele/PA)

The eight-year-old was last seen pulling up in the Irish National in April, the final run of a campaign that peaked with a third place in the Grade Two National Hunt Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He’s in good form, Gordon seems happy with him,” said Iain Turner, racing manager to owners the McNeill Family.

“We could have done with softer, typical Gowran ground as he goes well in soft or heavy ground.

“The lack of rain probably isn’t ideal but it is his first race of the season and it’s a nice starting point.

“It’s his first time out since the Irish National last year, which probably came a bit soon after the National Hunt Chase. It’s good to get him started with targets in mind later in the spring.”

Gordon Elliott has a clutch of Thyestes runners
Gordon Elliott has a clutch of Thyestes runners (Brian Lawless/PA)

The most prominent amongst those targets is the Grand National at Aintree in April, though on the likelihood of his participation connections will take a lead from Elliott, who has trained the winner of the race on three occasions.

“We’d love him to be a Grand National horse, that would be a dream,” said Turner.

“He jumps well, he stays well and he’s had a light campaign.

“Gordon has trained more Grand National winners than we’ve had runners so he knows a little bit more about it than we do!”

Coko Beach won the race last year
Coko Beach won the race last year (Niall Carson/PA)

Escaria Ten is one of five Elliott runners in the race, with Braeside the most-fancied at present and last season’s winner Coko Beach set to defend his title.

Death Duty and Smoking Gun also line up, with Defi Bleu a reserve runner for Elliott.

Willie Mullins also well represented in the race with Franco De Port, Ontheropes, Agusta Gold, Class Conti and Brahma Bull. Stones And Roses is a reserve for the race.

Martin Brassil’s Longhouse Poet and the Noel Meade-trained Diol Ker are other notable contenders.