sport

Fingal Bay set for Sandown

Fingal Bay is set to make his long-awaited return from injury in Saturday's Betfred Mobile And Levy Board Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.

The eight-year-old won four of his five starts as a novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago, claiming Grade One honours in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury before signing off with a good run in defeat at the 2012 Grand National meeting at Aintree.

He made a winning debut over fences at Chepstow later that year before chasing home Dynaste at Cheltenham, but ran out on his next start at Exeter and has been sidelined by injury since.

Fingal Bay will make his handicap debut and first competitive appearance in almost 15 months in this weekend's Grade Three event and trainer Philip Hobbs reports his charge in good shape.

Hobbs said: "He is very much an intended runner on Saturday and he seems in very good form.

"He's been back with me for about four months and he had a couple of months (in pre-training) before that, so hopefully he is well up to speed.

"We're looking forward to getting him back on the track."

Fingal Bay does hold an entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but Hobbs said: "I suppose that looks unlikely at this stage, we'll just wait and see how he gets on this Saturday."

Fingal Bay is one of 13 entries for the two-mile-six-furlong contest, with the weights headed by Paul Nicholls' Lanzarote Hurdle winner Saphir Du Rheu.

Hobbs also confirmed Cheltenian an intended runner in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday week.

The 2011 Champion Bumper winner spent almost a year on the sidelines after his Festival heroics, but made a winning start to the current season with an impressive display at Uttoxeter on New Year's Eve.

Hobbs said: "We were very pleased with him at Uttoxeter and he'll run at Newbury provided he gets in. He still needs a few horses above him to come out, so fingers crossed."