With a host of novice hurdles varying in trip between 2m and 3m taking place at the Cheltenham Festival, it is no surprise that trainers are taking their time selecting the right race for their leading contenders.
One such race is the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and is run over the slightly unique distance of 2m5f.
Some 118 horses have been entered into the hurdle, with Willie Mullins responsible for 17 of these possible runners.
However, in terms of the Cheltenham betting, the stand-out option may prove Fingal Bay, who can be backed at a top price 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Fingal Bay has done little to concern doubters thus far, winning on all five of his career starts, including a victory over the highly regarded Simonsig.
Meanwhile, he has also landed some impressive contests, winning two hurdles races that had been won by the likes of Inglis Drever and Denman in their younger days.
Trainer Philip Hobbs will be ecstatic if the horse can go on to replicate the performances of this pair of Cheltenham greats and his early ability suggests that he has the potential.
One thing in Fingal Bay’s favour is that he is a galloper more than a speed horse and his tough nature will be well suited to the Cheltenham hill.
Furthermore, Hobbs has been pretty convinced that the Neptune will be Fingal Bay’s target, especially if the ground is on the softer side at Cheltenham and there is less chance of him being declared a non runner in comparison to many of the other early entrants.
Boston Bob is the other well fancied horse in the Cheltenham betting for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and can be backed at 4/1 at present.