The latter venue hosts the Grade 1 Champion Steeplechase, raced over the three-mile distance. It’s a simply sublime field that includes dual Grade 1 winner Delta Work and the always popular Presenting Percy, who makes his debut for Gordon Elliott.
One trainer who will be looking forward to this Grade 1 contest is Henry De Bromhead. The County Waterford based trainer has two of his stable leaders entered, including a Cheltenham Festival winner.
You can get the low-down on all of De Bromhead’s runners for the upcoming campaign in Racing Post’s Stable Tour. It’s available for Racing Post Members’ Club subscribers in full on the website and will prove an invaluable guide for this season.
“I’ve always felt he was more of a three-miler”
The first of those horses entered is the 2018 Ryanair winner Balko Des Flos. Landing that RSA at the expense of Un De Sceaux, he’s posted some very smart form since. That includes a cracking third in the Aintree Bowl of 2019, running just twice last season due to illness.
Speaking of that unfortunate turn, De Bromhead told Racing Post: “He got very sick last year and had pneumonia in January, but he came back to us in the summer and has been brilliant since“.
Having his first start for 328 days, he was ultimately well-held when fourth in a Punchestown Grade 3 earlier this month. He will have needed the run, however, and it will have blown away the cobwebs. Speaking of that return, De Bromhead continued to say: “I was very happy with his run at Punchestown two weeks ago as he jumped brilliantly in third and had a really good blow afterwards“.
We can expect much better from this Grade 1 winner in due course. De Bromhead has cited a pair of potential returns, the first being the Champion Chase on Saturday. The other, is the Clonmel Oil Chase, which is on November 12th.
That contest is run over 2m 4f, however, and that may be short of his best at this stage of his career. Of that view, De Bromhead finished to say: “I’ve always felt he was more of a three-miler“.
Chris’s Dream out to prove Grade 1 quality
His second entry into the Grade 1 contest is the progressive Chris’s Dream. He was a revelation over three miles last term after a disappointing end to his prior novice campaign. An impressive winner of the Troytown on seasonal return, he was a gutsy all the way winner of a Grade 2 at Gowran Park thereafter.
Sent off 20/1 for the Gold Cup when last seen, he didn’t quite get home after a few wayward jumps. His stamina, however, is something that is clearly giving De Bromhead a headache. Speaking on that subject, De Bromhead said: “I’m not so sure whether we’ll train him as a Gold Cup horse this year. I wouldn’t like to discount it because he’s always looked like a staying horse, but the first impression from last season’s race was that he didn’t stay“.
A lot his season will be dictated by his Down Royal return on Saturday. De Bromhead continued to say: “We might end up dropping him back in trip. We’ll pick our races for him after Down Royal“.
An exciting season awaits the eight-year-old, who remains relatively unexposed over fences after last season’s exploits.