Emmet Mullins © Photo Healy Racing
Filey Bay is 11-4 favourite with the sponsors for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday after 23 horses remained in contention at the five-day confirmation stage.
Trained by Emmet Mullins, the seven-year-old was having his first outing in 409 days when an easy winner at Doncaster in November off a lowly mark and had no trouble in following up a week later at Wincanton.
Subsequently bought by JP McManus, he will be attempting to become the first Irish-trained winner of the race since Michael O’Brien’s Essex in 2005.
McManus holds a strong hand with the Willie Mullins-trained Icare Allen, Jonjo O’Neill’s Petit Tonnerre and Nicky Henderson’s Ordinary Joe.
Henderson could also be represented by the top weight First Street and Impulsive One, while there is further Irish interest in the shape of Lorna Fowler’s Colonel Mustard.
Paul Nicholls has two left in, Hacker Des Places and Rubaud, as has Gary Moore with Teddy Blue and Yorksea for a race he has won three times in the past.
Last year’s winner Glory And Fortune, Harry Fry’s Gin Coco and the Chris Gordon pair of Highway One O Two and Aucunrisque also feature.
Joe Tizzard’s Eldorado Allen is the highest rated among nine in the Betfair Denman Chase having finished second in the Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase this season.
Hitman, Sam Brown, Does He Know and Corach Rambler are potential opponents, as it the Sam Thomas-trained Iwilldoit, winner of the Classic Chase on his first outing of the season.
Amy Murphy has entered Kalashnikov in the Denman over three miles and a Warwick handicap on the same day.
Jonbon is among eight entries in the Game Spirit Chase, although Warwick’s Kingmaker Novices’ Chase on the same afternoon is his preference.
Nicholls’ Greaneteen is likely to be a hot favourite on his favoured good ground.