Ferny Hollow's Comeback Trail: A Journey from Sidelines to Spotlight

After Over Two Years Away, Racing's Once Brightest Star Returns

Ferny Hollow is making a grand return to the scene at Gowran Park this Saturday after taking a pretty long breakโ€”over two years, to be exact. This guy once had everyone talking, especially after snagging the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2020 and then showing Bob Olinger his heels in his first try at hurdling. But then, life threw a curveball, and he had to sit out with a stress fracture.

After a year-plus timeout, he came back, won a couple of races over fences in December 2021, and had everyone buzzing again. Willie Mullins, his trainer, was all like, "awesome," when he talked about Ferny Hollow's win at the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase. He was even the hot tip for the Arkle before another injury, this time to his suspensory ligament, sidelined him. And just when we thought we'd see him back in action, a hind tendon injury kept him out for the whole 2022-23 season.

He was on the list for a race at the Dublin Racing Festival this month, but nah, he didn't show. But now, we hear he's all set for the Red Mills, a race Mullins has aced seven times. Chris Richardson from Cheveley Park was like, "He has a huge following and has shown wonderful talent but he's had a number of issues," giving props to Mullins and the crew for getting Ferny to this point. "Full marks to Willie and the team for getting this far and let's see what happens. It's terrific we're in this position and the team has worked unbelievably hard to get him to this point. The horse has been given the time he needed. Fingers crossed the build-up to the race goes well and Willie's happy โ€“ it would be lovely to see him back. I'm sure he'll be ring-rusty and I just hope that he travels safely and gets round."

With odds at 25-1 for the Champion Chase, Richardson added, "All roads lead to Cheltenham and it's just a question of how far we get." It's a big deal for Cheveley Park, especially since their other big names, Allaho and Grangeclare West, are out for the season. Allaho was the man in 2021 and 2022, winning the Ryanair Chase, but then got sidelined with a strained hock. And Grangeclare West, who was looking good for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase, had to bow out after a mishap.

But there's still hope with Tullyhill, who's looking to make some noise at the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle after his race at Punchestown this Sunday. Richardson is keeping the faith, saying, "We'll learn more about him on Sunday and I know that Willie has Cheltenham thoughts."

Everyone's got their eyes on Ferny Hollow, hoping he can shake off the dust and hit the ground running. It's been quite the journey, but here's hoping for a smashing comeback.