Ballymore Novices Hero City Island To Line Up At Punchestown Festival

Ballymore Novices Hurdle winner at the cheltenham Festival, City Island will now set his sites on yet another Grade 1 contest with his final run set to be at the Punchestown festival.

The six year old for mysterious trainer Martin Brassil has had a sparkling time of things this season finishing first in all of his five runs but was unfortunately disqualified in one of them.

His heroics on the second day of the festival in the Ballymore, saw him land his first Grade 1 in his career and what a perfect performance it was.

Brassil has released that his stable star returned to Ireland in fine order and the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is his next target on the agenda.

(Credit At The Races) The trainer said: “I was hoping he could go to Cheltenham and do what he did, but you’re never sure going over there.

“He’d done everything we’d asked of him without being thrown in the deep end. I just hoped he’d go over there with loads of confidence and show what he can do and that’s the way it worked out, thankfully.

“He came home very well. I’m surprised how well he’s taken the race, to be honest.

“We’ll think about going to Punchestown with him. There’s the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle on the Friday, so we’ll have a look at that.”

With Cheltenham fever still in the air just a week after the greatest show on turf finished, the long term target for next season looks to be to head back to Prestbury Park.

The Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle is the potential option at this moment in time for the six year old with Brassil leaving his options open.

He added: “We’ll make plans for next season once Punchestown is out of the way.“

There are plenty of options. He could stay over hurdles or go over fences.“It’s nice to be able to make plans for a horse with this talent.”

It is very difficult for a trainer and the horses connections to make a decision on such a good hurdling horse on whether to change it up next season to fences or keep them over hurdles.

Brassil is left with a tough task that will ultimately mould the rest of City Island's career and for us the Stayers Hurdle would set up a perfect clash with some top class horses next season.

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