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Pat Fahy tips Morning Assembly to shine in RSA Chase at Cheltenham

Trainer Pat Fahy insists Morning Assembly is still very much a work in progress but has high hopes of his charge putting in a bold display in the RSA Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old was brought along slowly in bumpers and novice hurdles but still managed to claim a Grade One success over the smaller obstacles when staying on strongly to score over three miles at last season's Punchestown Festival, beating Willie Mullins pair Inish Island and Ballycasey in grand fashion.

On his first outing over fences, the son of Shantou again showed he has a great attitude when getting the better of Si C'Etait Vrai at Punchestown and returned to that track to outbattle Don Cossack in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase in November.

Carlingford Lough denied Morning Assembly a Grade One victory in the Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, but he still travelled well and was a solid second that day and Fahy is adamant his charge has plenty of scope for improvement.

"Morning Assembly has only had nine runs and about 11 gallops on grass - a horse like that would usually improve a lot and stay on improving," declared the County Carlow handler, although he did add that we might not see the best of the gelding this term.

He continued: "We've been training him with next year in mind really as we made a plan to treat him as a very good horse and train him accordingly this year. This year is really fact-finding and to give him more experience."

Despite that view, Fahy is still confident Morning Assembly can make his presence felt in the RSA Chase, which Ireland has won four times in the last five seasons with Cooldine, Weapon's Amnesty, Bostons Angel and Lord Windermere.

"He hasn't run since Christmas but we're not really worried about that as he runs well fresh all the time, he's jumping really well and has a great temperament," said the trainer. "He looks like a dour stayer and should manage the hill really well.

"As long as there's a true gallop and they don't all start queuing up going to the last; a proper gallop out in the country to put them under pressure and he won't let us down up the hill. We have a lot of the Irish form covered, having competed against them, and we wouldn't swap our horse for any other horse in the British Isles."


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Pat Fahy tips Morning Assembly to shine in RSA Chase at Cheltenham

Trainer Pat Fahy insists Morning Assembly is still very much a work in progress but has high hopes of his charge putting in a bold display in the RSA Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

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