sport

Bay tests British waters

John McConnell is confident Irish raider Orgilgo Bay can keep his unbeaten record over obstacles intact at Bangor on Sunday.

A high-class two-year-old on the Flat last year, running well behind the likes of Battle Of Marengo and First Cornerstone, the youngster made a winning start to his jumping career at Punchestown in mid-October and is a 20/1 chance with Betfred for the Triumph Hurdle.

Although an intended trip to Cheltenham last month had to be shelved after a minor setback, Orgilgo Bay does now get his opportunity to run in Britain as he faces four opponents in Wales in the Northern Racing Club "Saturday Naps Challenge" Juvenile Hurdle.

The opposition includes John Quinn's Wetherby winner Rutherglen and Venetia Williams' 235,000 euro purchase Baradari, who was sixth on his jumping debut at Newbury.

McConnell said: "He was to go to Cheltenham for the Paddy Power meeting, but he got a mild colic and it just took him a while to get over that.

"There aren't too many opportunities to run him at home. The Triumph Hurdle favourite (Analifet) goes for the race in Leopardstown next week, so we thought rather than go in at the deep end, we'd go to Bangor and get some more experience.

"It looks quite a good little race. John Quinn's horse looked quite nice at Wetherby and Venetia Williams paid a lot for her horse.

"It will be good for our horse to get some experience travelling. It's only two hours off the boat to Bangor and we had a winner there in the summer with Lindenhurst.

"If all goes well on Sunday, it would be nice to think we could win and then we could give him a break over Christmas and look for something a bit better at the end of January."