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Fahey lines up strong Curragh challenge

Richard Fahey is sending over a strong party to the Curragh on Sunday for the opening day of the Irish Flat season.

The Malton handler enjoyed another terrific season in 2010 and was the driving force behind Paul Hanagan being crowned champion jockey.

Irishman Fahey enjoys a visit to his homeland and has saddled a handful of winners in the Emerald Isle in recent years.

Spearheading his team on Sunday is Our Joe Mac, winner of a decent race at Haydock last season. He will be ridden by Hanagan in the www.thetote.com Irish Lincolnshire.

He will be joined in the line-up by stablemate Kyllachy Star, who will have the assistance of Lee Topliss.

"Our Joe Mac is a horse we like but I'm just disappointed the original top weight (Kargali) doesn't run. It makes it a totally different race as they've all gone up 9lb," said Fahey.

"We're happy with both horses. Kyllachy has run well at the Curragh before. I've decided to claim off him now with the weights going up.

"It puts a completely different spin on it with the weights now, but there's nothing we can do about it.

"The more rain the better for Our Joe Mac, there is some forecast.

"Jeannie Galloway runs in the six-furlong handicap and she won't mind a bit of juice in the ground.

"Sioux Rising runs in the same race and has been running well on the all-weather but can't win.

"I'm sending them over because there's nothing for these horses with their ratings for a few weeks."

Fahey also has a runner in the opening Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden in Lost City, owned by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Jack Hanson.

The dogs have obviously been barking his name even in Ireland because even the legendary Kevin Prendergast, who runs Pinkisthecolour, has heard the rumours.

"We think ours is nice but we hear Mr Fahey's is very good," said Prendergast. "I've heard a fair few whispers in my years but less this year than ever, we had a very bad winter and we were snowed in for a lot of the time.

"It shows how far behind people are that there is only six runners in the first maiden, you usually get a big field.

"Most of my horses will need a run but I just hope they run well.

"Pinkisthecolour is by Red Clubs, who is a new sire. He was very good. He won the Haydock Sprint and also the Coventry at two so he had plenty of speed."

While Fahey admits to liking what he has seen so far from his newcomer, he is keeping his cards close to his chest. "Kevin Prendergast knows more than me!" said Fahey.

"He's not a typical early-season two-year-old. He's been shaping OK at home but he will improve for the run and hopefully improve throughout the season.

"He has been showing the right signs but he will improve. He's not one of those excitable two-year-olds, he's quite a relaxed type but he's shaping all right."