Leading dual purpose trainer Joseph O'Brien is set to field his national hunt star Fakir D'Oudairies in the Grade One Ascot Chase at the Berkshire track this weekend.
Bounded onto the scene in the UK when bolting up a Grade Two at Cheltenham for juveniles. His impressive antics saw the gold and green of McManus swoop and purchase him before he was sent off favourite for that years’ Supreme.
Beaten into the he stayed on like a trooper and hinted then that his future could lie over further than the minimum trip.
Immediately moved to chasing, he made handy use of his four year old weight for age allowance. Beating Melon on chase debut, he was then a lucky winner of the Grade One Drinmore when Samcro blundered two out.
Second in last years’ Arkle he again looked tapped for a bit of pace, but again put in a solid performance to take Put The Kettle on all the way.
In open company he’s ran over two miles being beaten by Notebook, three miles where he didn’t stay the trip and pulled up and then dropped right back down to two miles to be second to Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase.
He then headed into the Grade One Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival and was again another solid second behind the wide margin winner Allaho, who would have beaten anyone on the day.
Next time out the six year old gave a career best performance over fences to take the Grade One Melling Chase at Aintree, seeing off the likes of Politologue.
Looking to round the season off in style he went up to three miles for the Grade One Punchestown Gold Cup and although finished third he was a long way behind Clan Des Obeaux and Al Boum Photo, with the three miles being too far.
This term he returned in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase at Thurles when bolting up by 15 lengths and off the back of that he ran onto into fourth a star studded renewal of the Grade One John Durkan Chase.
Sent back to Thurles last time out against long time rival Allaho, he could only manage a 12 length second in the Grade Two Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase.
O'Brien is hoping that his gelding can keep up his consistent record and add more Grade One glory to his roster.
(Credit ATR) “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 One 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, JP McManus’ racing manager) yet, but that would be the plan and is most likely.”
“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.”