Cheltenham winner City Island all set to go to 'Town for Brassil and Mulryan
Curragh-based trainer Martin Brassil is assembling a select team for the Punchestown Festival with City Island on course for the Grade 1 Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle on the penultimate day of the Irish National Hunt season.
City Island was an ultra-impressive winner of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and has been a constant improver throughout his career, taking his tally to four wins when beating Champ by two lengths at the Cheltenham Festival.
Brassil, who trains the six-year-old for Sean and Bernardine Mulryan, has been thrilled with how City Island came out of his memorable Cheltenham success.
“We are very happy with City Island since Cheltenham," Brassil stated. "He bounced back and seems to have taken his race very well.
“Punchestown is a very important meeting for everybody but Sean and Bernardine like to have runners there so it's nice to have a horse that can go there for a Grade 1 - or any race - with a bit of a chance.
“We trained City Island for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham so I was always hopeful that when he turned up there that he would put up a good performance and it just happened to work out that he won. It was good to see Champ coming out to win at Aintree and Ask Dillon, who was 10th in the race, won this week as well. The form of most of City Island's races seems to be working out well and throwing out plenty of winners."
Brassil is hopeful to have other runners during the Punchestown Festival with the progressive Whatsafellatodo set to make his first start for the trainer and he has multiple options for the week along with course winner Take Revenge. Both horses are in the Grade B Ballymore Handicap Hurdle and are also owned by the Mulryan's who are huge supporters the Kildare racecourse.
"Whatsafellatodo is in the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle on the Saturday and he'll also be in the Connolly's Red Mills Auction Hurdle Final which has been a great incentive," Brassil continued.
"We had him in Limerick but I just decided not to run him so he hasn't run for me yet but I've liked him and you'd like what you saw before we got him. He has been a straightforward horse and he jumps well.
"Take Revenge has course form at Punchestown and it could be a big ask for his first run in a handicap if he runs in the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle or we could run him in the Louis Fitzgerald Hurdle on the Wednesday which is a winners of one race."
You Raised Me Up hasn't raced since winning at the Galway Festival but he is set to return at the Punchestown Festival for the Kildare Post Flat Race on Thursday, May 2nd.
"You Raised Me Up was fourth at the Punchestown Festival last year and then he went and won at Galway. I'd be inclined to go for the winners' bumper with him on the Thursday.
We'll look forward to having runners during the week and if you go to Punchestown and have a winner it is great - no matter what sort of race it is."
The 2019 Punchestown Festival kicks off on Tuesday 30th April and runs to Saturday 4th May with a record prize fund of €3,222,500 on offer. Entries for the Grade A Guinness Handicap Chase, the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase and the Grade B Ballymore Handicap Hurdle have closed for entries and will be revealed on Monday. Full event information and tickets available on www.punchestown.com