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McConnell eyes hurdle debut for Encanto Bruno

Encanto BrunoEncanto Bruno
© Photo Healy Racing

John McConnell is planning to unleash Encanto Bruno over hurdles during the summer.

The Mahler gelding won his point-to-point for Colin Motherway before moving to McConnell for whom he won good-ground bumpers at Cork and Cheltenham.

That earned him his ticket to the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished in mid-division.

The five-year-old holds an entry in a bumper at the Curragh on Wednesday, but hurdling is firmly on the agenda.

McConnell said: "I'm just worried it is good to firm they are giving (in the Curragh). He'd love nice ground, but not as fast as that.

"He's in great form and if he doesn't run there he will probably go hurdling, he jumps very well. We'll make up our mind on Monday morning and see what they are calling the ground then.

"He'll run (over hurdles) in the next month I'd say. All going well, we would like to get him a couple of wins in the kind of summer/autumn.

"He went into the Cheltenham bumper not 100 per cent, it was very touch and go whether we ran him at all. He still ran well on slower ground than ideal.

"He's better now than he was, I actually switched his box and moved it to a different part of the yard.

"No (he wouldn't want deep winter ground), he's not the biggest horse and he's a light mover."

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.