Festival bumper winner Fayonagh set for hurdles bow at Fairyhouse

Wed 4 Oct 2017

Gordon Elliott's Champion Bumper heroine Fayonagh is set to make her seasonal reappearance and hurdling debut at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

The daughter of Kalanisi was snapped up for £64,000 by owner Maura Gittins after winning a Naas bumper for trainer Richie Rath last November and has proved an extremely shrewd purchase.

She made a hugely impressive debut for her new connections in a Listed event at Fairyhouse before coming from the clouds to claim Cheltenham Festival glory, and was even more impressive when following up at Punchestown in late April.

Mark Gittins, son of the owner, said: "Fayonagh is very well and I believe the plan is to start her off on Saturday. Obviously it's very exciting.

"Last season was an absolute dream and if she can be half as good over hurdles as she was in bumpers, that'll be great."

Gittins himself is a successful breeder based at Castlefarm Stud in County Kildare, producing dual Group One-winning two-year-old Shalaa, among others.

He is married to Aisling Kinane, the daughter of former leading jockey Mick Kinane, and his own colours were carried to top-level success by the Karl Burke-trained Lord Shanakill in the 2009 Prix Jean Prat.

Burke now trains recent Group Three scorer Ellthea for the family. "We try to buy horses who will become broodmares here at the stud and hopefully Ellthea can be one of those," Gittins added.

"We do the breaking and pre-training ourselves and Aisling's dad is in riding out quite a bit, which is obviously a great help.

"Karl has had a very good year and Gordon was obviously unlucky not to be crowned champion trainer last season, so we've just been very lucky to jump on their bandwagons."

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