Fergal O'Brien harbouring high hopes for Barney Dwan's Festival bid

Mon 19 Feb 2018

Fergal O'Brien anticipates a bold show from Barney Dwan on his return to the Cheltenham Festival in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase.

After finishing second in the Pertemps Final 12 months ago, the eight-year-old will attempt to go one better in the extended two-and-a-half-mile Listed contest on March 13.

The Paul and Clare Rooney-owned gelding, who also holds entries in the National Hunt Challenge Cup and RSA Insurance Chase, has won his last two starts over fences, at Market Rasen and Musselburgh.

O'Brien said: "Honestly I don't care what anybody says, but win, lose or draw, around Musselburgh the other day I couldn't wait for him to go to Cheltenham in March afterwards over two-mile-four in the Close Brothers.

"That is one that is really exciting me. He is so neat and is such a lovely horse. He has bounced out of that race at Musselburgh.

"Two and a half around Musselburgh wouldn't be ideal for him. Brian (Hughes) said he was going to win when the others (Keeper Hill and Peter The Mayo Man) both fell. I am delighted with him."

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