Fabulous Saga can thrive in testing Limerick conditions

All Fabulous Saga does is stay – but that is likely to be the primary requirement

Exceptionally testing conditions are expected on Friday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Exceptionally testing conditions are expected on Friday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

The prospect of more rain falling on already heavy ground at Limerick might be deflating for many, but it should allow Fabulous Saga to thrive in the final-day festival feature.

As rolls of honour go, the Grade Two Guinness Novice Hurdle stands up to close scrutiny with last year’s winner Penhill going on to Cheltenham glory in the Albert Bartlett.

Ten years ago Weapons Amnesty pulled off the same double. Faugheen’s 2013 success in the Limerick race is part of one of the most glittering careers in recent times.

Fabulous Saga is 20-1 in some lists for Cheltenham’s Albert Bartlett but it is the prospect of Friday’s three miles on exceptionally testing conditions that could spell trouble for his opposition.

One of his four opponents, Burren Life, found out what Willie Mullins’s runner can do in such a scenario at Cork earlier this month.

On near unraceable ground, Fabulous Saga galloped his Grade Three opposition into the muck to win by 70 lengths at a programme later called off when the going really was judged unraceable.

All Fabulous Saga does is stay. But even conceding weight to his stable companion Ainsi Va La Vie, and Burren Life’s stable-mate Delta Work, that is likely to be the primary requirement.

Mullins’s other runners

Mullins sends two other runners to Limerick where the course hurdles winner Kate Appleby Shoes makes her debut over fences. His maiden hurdle contender, Caro Des Flos, looks a contender too.

The half-brother of the Galway Plate winner Balko Des Flos is owned by Highclere, has form on heavy ground in France and returns to action for his first start since finishing runner up to Al Boum Photo almost a year ago.

Every pound will count on these conditions, and Mick the Jiver is lurking at the bottom of the weights in the handicap hurdle.

Eoghan O’Grady’s runner looks to be better over fences but won a handicap over flights last year off a mark only just lower than the one he’s on here. Significantly, that mark is a lot lower than his chase rating.

Kerry-based Tom Cooper makes the short trip to Limerick with Jammy George for the bumper.

The four-year-old is a half-brother of Lucky William, a Grade One winner for Cooper at the 2012 Punchestown festival, and shaped with a little promise on his Navan debut behind Invincible Cave.

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