Felix Desjy could thrive a Punchestown on Saturday



Cheltenham

The next hurdle in a great season

He’s had a great season already winning his first three races and this race should tell us more about the second half of the season for him – whether we will be looking at the Triumph Hurdle or the Fred Winter. It was hard to know what he achieved on his first couple of runs in Ireland but I thought he took a step up in class well to win nicely at Wetherby last time. He’s learning and improving all the time and I think he’ll give a good account of himself at a track that should suit him well.

Punchestown

Promising Braeside has stamina for this test

11:45 Braeside & Conflated

Braeside progressed from his debut over fences at Kilbeggan to finish third in a decent event at Galway late last month. Ideally he wants a longer trip but the ground should make this a fair test of stamina and I think he will run his usual solid race. Later in the season I think he is a horse that could compete in some good staying handicap chases.

Conflated is in good shape and he has come on from his debut over fences here last month. He would have needed that run badly so I wasn’t surprised that he finished well held in third. He did jump out to his left quite badly at a few of his fences but I think he might just have been unsettled by a loose horse who didn’t do the leaders any favour early on. The step up to this trip will suit and I’m expecting an improved effort on all fronts.

My best chance on Saturday

12:15 – Felix Desjy

We didn’t really learn very much from his chasing debut at Killarney early last month apart from the fact that he appeared to take well to jumping fences. He’s been in very good form at home since then and I’m pleased with how he is working. When he was a novice hurdler he looked like a horse who could thrive as a two mile chaser given his running style and I’m hoping he will show that to be the case here, although we are going to learn a lot more here as this looks like quite a smart contest. This should tell us what route we are taking for the rest of the season.

Trio should benefit from this run

12:50 – Farclas, Press Conference & Tintangle

Farclas won the Triumph Hurdle for us a few seasons ago. He struggled in the season after that but did well when switching to fences by winning three on the bounce in the first month of last season. He’s been off the track since June 2019 as a result of a few issues and he is a hard enough horse to get fit at home so whatever he does here he will improve on and he might just be one that takes a run or two to get back to his peak. It’s good to have him back.

Press Conference is having his first run for us. On the form of his last two runs he is going to struggle but he did run well on his chasing debut at this meeting last year when he was fourth to Faugheen. This looks hot enough race for him to make his return in but he shapes like a horse with plenty of ability at home and some of his form would tell you that too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran well.

Tintangle isn’t the easiest to predict and sometimes she doesn’t look very enthusiastic but she is very capable on her day. I didn’t think she took much interest at Clonmel the last day but she got around and has come forward for that run. I’m running her in the hope that a big field and a light weight might suit her but she’s not one you could have confidence in.

Should be right there at the finish

14:00 – Call Me Lyreen

Call Me Lyreen is a lovely horse who has won both his starts and I think he will be a much better horse in a year’s time as he is still a baby. On his debut he won an ordinary maiden in good style at Tramore in September and I thought he produced a nice effort to win a conditions race at Sligo last time and the form of that race looks quite reasonable. He is going to have to step forward again and his relative inexperience is a worry but I think he should be right there at the finish.

Ready to step up and compete

14:35 – Homme D’Un Soir & Irish Art (reserve)

He shaped like a nice horse in a couple of bumper runs last season and I was happy with his first run over hurdles at Wexford last month where he came home well to be beaten just half a length. This will be a much stronger race but I think he will improve for the run at Wexford and he should sharpen up as a result of that initial experience over hurdles. I’d like to think that he will be involved at the finish and the step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem for him.

Irish Art has struggled to make an impact over hurdles so far and his best chance of getting competitive will lie in handicaps. I’m just hoping that he puts in a solid round of jumping and shows us something for the future.

Trio face stiff test

15:10 – Hereditary Rule, Imperial Allure & Dessie Deschamps

Hereditary Rule won’t find this easy as it will be a big enough ask for him to carry top weight in his first handicap. He pulled up in the final of the Red Mills Auction Hurdle series here last month but he did actually run much better than the result there would suggest and I’m expecting him to come on plenty for that run. I think he will be able to get competitive in races like this through the winter but his lack of handicap experience and the burden of top weight could make this a stiff enough test for him.

Imperial Allure hasn’t been able to build in the promise she showed in a Thurles bumper last season but I’m hoping a switch to handicaps over this sort of trip will enable her to take a step forward. It’s hard to recommend her on what she has shown late but she is better than her last few runs would suggest.

Dessie Deschamps is going to have to take a step forward if he is to get involved. I thought he would run better than he did last time out at Navan in September but he jumped quite poorly throughout and a much better round of jumping will be needed if he is to make an impression here.

Can hold his own and compete at the finish

He’s a nice horse who had been showing up well at home but he hadn’t been asked any serious questions prior to heading to Kilbeggan where he won very well. He looks to have done well since that run and his performance last time suggested that he would be good enough to hold his own in a winner’s bumper. This will be a much stronger race than the Kilbeggan one but he should still be closely involved at the finish.