Battleoverdoyen made a fine debut over fences on reappearance, so can take the step back up into Grade 2 company in his stride and follow-up in the feature contest at Punchestown this Sunday – the extended 2m 6f Florida Pearl Novice Chase (14:50).
Trained by Gordon Elliott for powerful owners Gigginstown House Stud, this lightly-raced six-year-old has huge potential.
Connections didn’t mess about with Battleoverdoyen over hurdles with just three starts in that sphere last season after Irish point and bumper victories.
After bolting up by 13 lengths at Navan, he went straight from maiden company to the highest level.
Battleoverdoyen followed-up with Grade 1 glory at Naas, staying on well when up in trip and beating Sams Profile by 2 3/4 lengths.
He was sent off a well-backed 3/1 favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as a result.
Something was amiss with Battleoverdoyen that day, however, as he was on and off the bridle before being pulled up.
However, he’s showed that running to be all wrong by coming out and resuming winning ways over this trip on soft ground at Galway.
Battleoverdoyen made all and – crucially for a novice chaser – jumped well. As he was still travelling well and in firm command after the last, jockey Keith Donoghue had the luxury of easing him close home.
That made Battleoverdoyen value for more than the winning margin of eight lengths. What he beat is questionable, but this was a visually impressive round of jumping from a chase debutant.
As Davy Russell now takes the ride, Battleoverdoyen is 4/5 with William Hill to follow-up in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase.
Stormy Ireland can grab Grabel glory again
In the Listed 2m 2f Grabel Mares Hurdle (13:05), last year’s winner Stormy Ireland is fancied to land the spoils again.
Trainer Willie Mullins has won three of the last four renewals and this daughter of Motivator has won first time up in each of the last two campaigns.
Stormy Ireland is only three from 13 over hurdles, but that doesn’t quite tell the full story. She also ran a string of fine races in defeat following her victory in this 12 months ago.
They include when chasing home ill-fated subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Espoir D’Allen in a Grade 3 at Limerick.
Stormy Ireland was only eight lengths behind the winner and then filled the same spot behind stable companion Laurina in the Quevega Hurdle here.
The five-year-old also took second in both Grade 1 races for mares at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.
That form reads very well in the context of this Listed affair for Stormy Ireland. A summer run in the Prix la Barka at Auteuil in France came after a busy spring.
As Stormy Ireland goes well fresh and acts on soft ground, she is preferred to fellow Sullivan Bloodstock owned stable companion Eglantine De Seuil at 4/5 with Coral for more Grabel glory.
Stable jockey Paul Townend prefers Stormy Ireland, who is top rated in this off an official mark of 147.
She gets in with just a 4lb penalty here, whereas Eglantine Du Seuil has to carry top-weight of 11st 9lb for her Grade 2 Cheltenham Festival win which she didn’t back up.
Call It Magic just the trick each-way in Risk Of Thunder
On a day where Cross Country races take place on both sides of the Irish Sea, many of the better horses over the banks are heading to Cheltenham.
However, the 3m Risk Of Thunder Chase (12:05) kicks off this card and Call It Magic is a fascinating each-way contender.
Trained by Ross O’Sullivan, the nine-year-old has Grand National course experience and was a fine fourth in the Grade 3 Becher Handicap Chase there last December.
As the son of Indian River only weakened at Aintree’s famous elbow, the drop back in trip is a plus here.
Call It Magic was then a gallant runner-up to Snugsborough Benny at Fairyhouse after a mid-winter break.
The winner has since finished a fine fourth in the Irish Grand National and a 3 1/2 lengths third in the Galway Plate over the summer.
Those are two of the hottest handicaps in Ireland, so the form reads well in the context of this contest.
Call It Magic handles soft and heavy ground just fine and has since been eased 1lb to a mark of 134.
Given the unique tests of this event on Florida Pearl Novice Chase day, he shouldn’t be underestimated. The nine-year-old appeals as the type who may have plenty to offer in this sphere.
With his handler and jockey Luke Dempsey both among the winners of a late and pipe opener when third in a Portrush point-to-point under his belt, Call It Magic is 17/2 with 888Sport for the Risk Of Thunder.
British imports Yanworth, who is now with banks specialist Enda Bolger, and Vyta Du Roc bring interesting back form to the table too.
As the former lacks experience and latter was beaten 50 lengths by Tiger Roll at the Cheltenham Festival, Call It Magic is preferred here.