Cappagh trainer Declan Queally cannot wait to make the trip to the Cotswolds today as he bids to land a touch in the Foxhunters’ Chase at 4.10 with prolific point winner, Rocky’s Howya.
Rocky’s Howya, owned by well-known Dungarvan undertakers David and Margaret Kiely, has been a revelation since joining the Queally team from James Dullea, winning a point in Ballycrystal by 18 lengths back in October before following up that success with another six-length victory at Rathcannon.
In his final run of 2022, the seven-year-old won a point in Boulta with ease as he had 18 lengths in hand, and Queally says it’s been a case of the horse growing in confidence and continuing to find his feet.
“It’s brilliant. Last year we had Lord Schnitzel running but obviously it’s always better when you have a local owner. David Kiely is a good friend that has been a big supporter of ours down the years and it’s a dream come true to be bringing the horse over there. He’s a horse that has found his feet since he came to us. He was a maiden when he came to us and he’s won his last five point-to-points very impressively.”
Since running in open company to earn his qualification rights for the Cheltenham Festival, Rocky’s Howya has proved even more of a revelation than was first thought, bolting home by 24 lengths at Aghabullogue before thumping former Graded winner Chatham Street Lad by 45 lengths at Tallow last month.
“His last two runs in open company were won on the bridle by very big distances”, said Queally. “He’s stay well, he’s a solid jumper and I’m really looking forward to bringing him over. He’s a lovely horse, good ground will suit him and he stays really well in big fields. Chris O’Donovan rides him for us and I’m sure he’ll be in the shake-up coming up the hill.”
The brother of renowned Flat jockey Tom Queally is dreaming of a landmark success, and says the yard are confident that it will be worth the journey come Friday evening.
“He has a big chance. It’s obviously very hard over there and we’re only dreaming right now. He stays very well and we think he’s going to run a very big race at 14/1.”