Sunderland Echo

McFabulous to excel in National Spirit

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McFabulous can once again live up to his name in the Loch Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell tomorrow.

Paul Nicholls’ seven-yearold is clearly a classy individual, winning three of his four bumpers starts in his initial campaign, including a Grade Two event at Aintree. He looked certain to make a splash in the novice hurdle division last term – but his career over obstacles started with an odds-on defeat at Chepstow, and Grade Two company then proved beyond him.

However, once he got his act together, he won his next two starts – culminatin­g in an impressive six-and-a-halflength success at Kempton last March, with Aintree then looking a likely option until Covid-19 intervened.

McFabulous duly kicked off the current campaign with a Chepstow win. But pitched against top stayers in Thyme Hill and Paisley Park in the Long Walk at Newbury in November, he was found out and had to settle for third, with the three-mile trip perhaps a step too far at that stage.

Switched back in trip for a reschedule­d Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton, McFabulous regained the winning thread in style, seemingly hitting a bit of a flat spot before engaging an extra gear and coming home a couple of lengths clear. This two-and-a-halfmile trip is right up his street and looks the perfect stepping stone to Aintree in April.

High Up In The Air can defy his soaring handicap mark and complete a five-timer in the Enjoy Champagne Piaff Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. Gary Moore’s runner has been a revelation since switching to fences this term, with his only defeat coming on his first attempt at Lingfield back in November.

The seven-year-old has not looked back since then, making all for a cosy win back at the Surrey venue next time before adding two clear wins at Plumpton and a nice verdict at Sandown last time.

High Up In The Air had to be pretty game on deep ground in Esher. But he rose to the challenge, and a further 6lb hike in the ratings for that success may not arrest his march just yet.

Generous Day looks to be returning to something like his best, and he can confirm that with victory in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase at Hereford. A winner at Kempton back in November 2019, the nine-year-old lost his way a bit after that – running three more times without success before undergoing wind surgery last spring. The operation did not appear to have had the desired effect on Generous Day’s first two runs. But a fair third on testing ground before Christmas offered a little encouragem­ent, before he was unfortunat­e to bump into Sky Pirate last month.

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