City Island is set to lead the way for trainer Martin Brassil at the Cheltenham festival as last seasons Ballymore Novices Hurdle winner will this year step up to three miles to contest in the Grade One Stayers Hurdle.
Last season when turning up to the Cheltenham festival he was very much an unknown entity with British punters knowing next to nothing about him and Irish punters having an idea of his talent but because he did not come from a big named trainer he was still overlooked.
He had five starts over hurdles winning three of them, being disqualified from his debut run when he actually went on to win the contest and then on his last start could only finish sixth at Punchestown in the Champion Novice Hurdle.
Having Grade One winning experience Brassil was hoping he could extend that over fences this season as he took him chasing and it really could not have gone any worse.
On his chase debut he went to Leopardstown for a Beginners Chase, with plenty of anticipation he completely flopped getting pulled up way before the finish.
He was better on his second start when second to Carefully Selected at Punchestown but his jumping was still less than impressive and at no point during the contest did he look like winning.
His trainer has made the right move moving him back over to hurdles and he now still has time to get his season back in track with a big run in the Stayers Hurdle.
(Credit At The Races) “It’s all systems go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. He seems in very good form.
“I know the chasing hasn’t gone to plan, but we’re very happy with him and we know he likes Cheltenham.
“It will be a good race, but hopefully he’ll go back there and run well.”