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Erec heading back to Leopardstown for Spring Juvenile

Wed 16th Jan 2019, 16:45

Sir Erec (far side)
© Photo Healy Racing

Sir Erec is on course to return to Leopardstown for the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle on February 3.

The two-mile contest is the first of four Grade Ones on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival and Sir Erec will be well fancied to follow up his successful hurdling debut at the Foxrock track last month.

Sir Erec won a Curragh maiden and a Listed prize at Limerick when trained on the Flat by Aidan O’Brien and his new handler Joseph O’Brien is hopeful his charge will progress from his first start over jumps.

“He jumped well enough, but there’s no doubt he will have to jump better going forward,” O’Brien said at the Dublin Festival launch at Leopardstown on Wednesday.

“It looked a very competitive race at Leopardstown last time — a huge field — and there was strong word for the horse that finished second (Tiger Tap Tap), but my fellow toughed it out well to the line.”

Gordon Elliott has several entries for the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, and said: “Chief Justice, Coeur Sublime and Surin will all run. If the ground stays good it will suit Chief Justice. Coeur Sublime was sore for a bit after his fall at Christmas, but he’s okay again, thank God. I could do with a bit of rain for him.

“Surin is a big mare that’s improving all the time — but she’d have to keep improving to beat Joseph’s horse (Sir Erec).”

Elliott houses the possible favourite for the Flogas Novice Chase in Delta Work, who will be bidding for a third successive Grade One win.

“He’ll definitely come here. He only does what he has to do,” said the Cullentra trainer.

“Hardline, who won the Grade One at Limerick over Christmas, will run as well.”

Delta Work is set to renew rivalry with O’Brien’s Mortal, who was eight lengths behind when second over Christmas.

De Bromhead will monitor ground conditions before deciding whether to saddle Chris’s Dream.

Elliott also has a strong hand in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle, with Felix Desjy and Vision D’honneur both in the mix after winning at Punchestown on Sunday.

Felix Desjy landed the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, while his stablemate impressed in a maiden hurdle.

Elliott said: “Felix Desjy has won a Grade Two, and you can’t take it away from him — but I think going forward Vision D’honneur could be the pick of them.

“Vision D’honneur will definitely run at Leopardstown, and I’ll see how Felix Desjy is during the week. He’s had a good few runs, so I might not need to run him again (before the Cheltenham Festival).”

Noel Meade is looking forward to running Down Royal bumper and Naas maiden hurdle winner Valdieu.

He said: “We’ve always liked him, and every time we went to the races early on we thought he’d win — but he continued to get beat, which isn’t a good sign!

“We’ve loved him at home, and I’m almost certain he’ll take his chance. We’ll see where we are when he runs in that.”

De Bromhead is hoping to run Dancing On My Own, while O’Brien could saddle Entoucas, Triplicate and Lone Wolf.