JOSEPH O’Brien is looking to Fakir D’Oudairies to seize another Grade 1 opportunity as he flies the flag for Ireland in Saturday’s Betfair Ascot Chase.
The seven-year-old has bumped into Willie Mullins’ Allaho the last twice and O’Brien has chosen to travel in search of calmer waters.
Fakir D’Oudairies has been a consistent performer so far and gained a second Grade 1 success of his career in the Melling Chase at Aintree in April.
“He had a good run last time in Thurles and a good run before that in the John Durkan,” said O’Brien.
“This looks a good opportunity for him to be competitive in Grade 1 company.
“He has been beaten by Allaho the last twice, I thought it was a good run last time considering he made quite a bad mistake early on but he came home well.
“I hope he’ll be competitive. I think it’s the plan for Mark (Walsh) to go over and ride. I haven’t had chance to speak to Frank (Berry, J.P .McManus’ racing manager) yet, but that would be the plan and is most likely.”
Fakir D’Oudairies was entered at Lingfield’s inaugural Winter Million meeting but O’Brien felt that would have entailed too many trips across the Irish Sea in one season.
“We had the option of Lingfield but as I said at the time, there was the possibility of going to England three or four times, so we decided to run at home and then come here. The Ryanair and Aintree are the two logical steps,” said O’Brien.
"Whether you miss the Ryanair and wait for Aintree or do both, it will probably depend on how how trains after Ascot.”
Paul Nicholls’ Saint Calvados has been installed as 5\2 favourite by the sponsors ahead of Nicky Henderson’s Mister Fisher at 7\2, Fanion D’Estruval at 4\1 with Fakir D’Doudairies alongside last year’s winner Dashel Drasher at 9\2.
Lostintranslation, Waiting Patiently and Two For Gold complete the potential eight-strong field.