sport

Fahy's Boy has more to offer

Trainer Pat Fahy is confident there was no fluke about Western Boy's excellent run in defeat at Punchestown on Saturday.

The five-year-old made an impressive start to his jumping career at Leopardstown's Christmas Festival and made red-hot favourite Vautour pull out all the stops in Saturday's Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.

Given Vautour was a 1/4 shot for the Grade Two contest and heads ante-post lists for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, many believe Willie Mullins' charge did not run up to his best in scoring by just three-quarters of a length, but Fahy does not agree.

He said: "It's a pity there was no other feature race on the day to measure the time against, but it looked a good race to me. The front two pulled 11 lengths clear of a horse rated 132.

"I think Willie Mullins' horse performed as good as he could on the day and our horse put it up to him.

"I thought our horse was entitled to improve for his first run over hurdles and he obviously has, but I couldn't believe he was able to put it up to Willie's horse in that soft to heavy ground.

"I think there's more improvement in him on better ground, so I'd be very happy with where we are this stage."

Fahy would not be afraid to let his charge take on Vautour again, with a Sky Bet Supreme bid not being ruled out.

"He's entered in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle in Leopardstown and he'll be well entered up at Cheltenham and Punchestown later on," said the trainer.

"He won't have too many runs as he's a light-framed horse. We'll treat him like he's a good horse and he's done nothing so far to suggest he isn't.

"For him to run so well on that ground on Saturday just left me thinking if we can mind this horse, he really could be anything.

"Fingers crossed he stays sound. We'll educate him and keep him happy, as it is not all about this year."