Philip Hobbs has confirmed his classy novice chaser Fingal Bay will miss the rest of the season after suffering a tendon injury.
The Grade One-winning hurdler made a perfect start to his career over fences at Chepstow in October and ran a fine race to chase home Dynaste at Cheltenham a month later.
But having been sent off a 1-12 favourite at Exeter to regain the winning thread at Exeter last week, Fingal Bay jumped violently left for much of the journey before eventually running out at the third last, after which the injury was discovered.
“He has unfortunately sustained a minor tendon injury. That was not the reason he was jumping so badly left at Exeter, but it does mean he’s going to miss the season, so that’s a disaster for all of us,” Hobbs said.
“It’s really bad news as he’s won the one novice chase, so next season he’s going to have to run in conditions chases with little experience. That’s not ideal, obviously.”
On a more positive note, Captain Chris delighted Hobbs in his latest workout ahead of the William King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day.
The eight-year-old was a well beaten third behind Kauto Star in the Festive highlight 12 months ago and while he ran no sort of race on his next appearance at Cheltenham, he did sign off with a fair fourth in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
Back on a right-handed track, he made an impressive return to action in the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot and is a 10-1 shot with Paddy Power to follow up at Kempton.
“He’s in really good nick. He worked very well yesterday (Tuesday) and we’ve got a couple of weeks to go. I couldn’t be more pleased with him,” Hobbs said.
“Obviously we’re taking on all the very best at Kempton, but we’re hoping that he’ll have a good chance.”
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