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Punchestown next for City Island

Wed 20th Mar 2019, 15:48

City Island (Mark Walsh) winning the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham
© Photo Healy Racing

Cheltenham Festival hero City Island is likely to round off his campaign at Punchestown next month.

Following relatively low-key hurdling wins at Leopardstown and Naas, the six-year-old justified trainer Martin Brassil’s faith with a commanding victory in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

Brassil reports his stable star to have returned to Ireland in rude health and the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is his next intended target.

“I was hoping he could go to Cheltenham and do what he did, but you’re never sure going over there,” said Brassil.

“He’d done everything we’d asked of him without being thrown in the deep end. I just hoped he’d go over there with loads of confidence and show what he can do and that’s the way it worked out, thankfully.

“He came home very well. I’m surprised how well he’s taken the race, to be honest.

“We’ll think about going to Punchestown with him. There’s the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle on the Friday, so we’ll have a look at that.”

Next year’s Stayers’ Hurdle was mooted as a potential long-term aim for City Island in the immediate aftermath of his Festival success, but Brassil is in no rush to make plans for next season.

He added: “We’ll make plans for next season once Punchestown is out of the way.

“There are plenty of options. He could stay over hurdles or go over fences.

“It’s nice to be able to make plans for a horse with this talent.”