Auvergnat (Donie McInerney) winning the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown© Photo Healy Racing
Enda Bolger has no worries about dropping Auvergnat back in trip for Sunday’s Abbey International Leopardstown Handicap Chase.
A surprise winner of the valuable three-mile Paddy Power Chase over Christmas, also at Leopardstown, before that success Auvergnat had been better known as a cross-country specialist.
“The intention is to go, and I’m very happy with him after his run in the Paddy Power Chase,” said Bolger.
“I think the nice ground really suited him at Leopardstown, and that’s the reason why I’m really looking forward to Sunday. He jumped real well, but the ground was the real factor.
“I’m not really worried about the trip. He’s very adaptable — and there’s guaranteed to be a good gallop with 25 runners, and the strong pace will bring his stamina into account as well.”
If Sunday goes well Cheltenham’s Cross Country Chase may be next, possibly followed by the Grand National — for which Auvergnat is a 33-1 chance with Paddy Power.
“I presume the Cross Country will be on the cards. But first it’s a big pot on Sunday, so let’s get that out of the way before looking forward as well,” said Bolger.
“We’re taking each race at a time. But he got an entry for the Grand National, because his rating went up 12lb after the Paddy Power — which allows him in.
“It made sense, and we’ll see nearer the time how he’s going and how things unfold, but it will definitely be considered now he’s qualified.”