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Betfair Hurdle: Emmet Mullins out to land another big pot with Filey Bay at Newbury

Filey Bay is the likely favourite after victories at Doncaster and Wincanton before being purchased by JP McManus; Icare Allen makes the trip over for Willie Mullins while Nicky Henderson's No Ordinary Joe can run well

Emmet Mullins trains Betfair Hurdle favourite Filey Bay
Image: Emmet Mullins trains Betfair Hurdle favourite Filey Bay

Filey Bay bids to plunder another major prize for Emmet Mullins in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

A nephew and neighbour of Ireland's perennial champion trainer Willie, Mullins is no stranger to big-race success, most notably saddling Noble Yeats to win the Grand National at Aintree last spring.

The County Carlow handler also won the Greatwood Hurdle, the Morebattle Hurdle and the Festival Plate and in Filey Bay, he has unearthed another fast-improving gelding.

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The son of Fame And Glory is two from two since joining Mullins from Declan Wall's yard, with a runaway success at Doncaster on his stable debut in late November followed by the cosiest of one-length wins at Wincanton just five days later.

Filey Bay must contend with a rise in both the weights and class for Saturday's £155,000 feature - but sporting the colours of leading owner JP McManus for the first time, it would be no surprise to see him take his game to another level.

"Fingers crossed, he will hopefully be up for the challenge," said Mullins. "It's a big step up in class for him, but he's come through his first two tests well and hopefully he can keep progressing.

"Since Wincanton, this has been the plan and it is a big step up in class. But it's also a big pot and he deserves to take his chance."

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Filey Bay is one of three runners in the race for McManus, with the Willie Mullins-trained Icare Allen and Nicky Henderson's No Ordinary Joe also among the leading fancies.

Icare Allen finished fourth in last year's Triumph Hurdle and ran with credit when third on his seasonal reappearance at Fairyhouse, while No Ordinary Joe won a head-bobber at Kempton over Christmas.

McManus' racing manager, Frank Berry, said: "It's hard to split them. I wouldn't want to have to make the decision about which one to ride, I know that.

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"They are all going there in good form and while it's a competitive race, all their trainers have said they are in good form, so hopefully they'll be competitive."

Of No Ordinary Joe, Henderson told Unibet: "He's very good indeed. He won last time and this has always been the plan.

"We thought he was a smart horse last year, but everything went wrong from the beginning. He had all sorts of silly problems. This time we've had a good, clean run and he comes in here in really good shape.

"It's very difficult getting a handle on these Irish horses and No Ordinary Joe is pretty exposed, but he could be improving."

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