Cheltenham Festival hero City Island remains on course to round off his season in the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Following successive wins at Leopardstown and Naas, Martin Brassil’s stable star graduated to the top level with honours when landing the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park last month.
Brassil reports his charge to have taken those exertions well, and he will bid to follow up at Punchestown on May 3rd.
“We have been very happy with City Island since Cheltenham,” said the Dunmurray-based trainer
“Punchestown is a very important meeting for everybody, but Sean and Bernardine (Mulryan, owners) like to have runners there, so it’s nice to have a horse that can go there for a Grade 1 – or any race – with a bit of a chance.”
City Island is set to spearhead a small but select team of Brassil-trained runners at the showpiece meeting.
The progressive Whatsafellatodo is set to make his first start for the trainer – having won his last two starts in the autumn for Brian Cawley.
His Punchestown options include the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle, in which Brassil also has Take Revenge engaged.
“Whatsafellatodo is in the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle on the Saturday – and he’ll also be in the Connolly’s Red Mills Auction Hurdle Final, which has been a great incentive,” Brassil added.
“He hasn’t run for me yet, but I’ve liked him – and you’d like what you saw before we got him. He has been a straightforward horse and he jumps well.
“Take Revenge has course form at Punchestown, and it could be a big ask for his first run in a handicap if he runs in the Ballymore, or we could run him in the Louis Fitzgerald Hurdle on the Wednesday, which is a winners-of-one race.”
You Raised Me Up is another Brassil inmate pencilled in for Punchestown.
He has not been seen in competitive action since winning at the Galway Festival last August.
Brassil said: “You Raised Me Up was fourth at the Punchestown Festival last year, and then he went and won at Galway. I’d be inclined to go for the winners’ bumper with him on the Thursday.
“We’ll look forward to having runners during the week, and if you go to Punchestown and have a winner it is great – no matter what sort of race it is.”