Henry de Bromhead: Journey With Me isn't a certain Dublin Racing Festival runner
Henry de Bromhead has raised the possibility of sending leading Ballymore hope Journey With Me to Naas next month for a 2m3f auction novice hurdle, although a Grade 1 tilt at the Dublin Racing Festival is still under consideration.
Last seen landing what looked a high-class 2m4f maiden hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, the Robcour-owned six-year-old is priced between 6-1 and 8-1 for the Ballymore, and is no bigger than 6-1 for the Albert Bartlett.
There would be a major market shake-up for the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle, which kicks off the Dublin Racing Festival on February 5, should Journey With Me bypass the 2m6f event, as he is 9-4 second favourite with Paddy Power.
Gordon Elliott suggested on Tuesday that 11-4 third-favourite Ginto may skip the DRF and go straight to Cheltenham, although Hollow Games, who is 2-1 favourite, remains in contention for the €150,000 contest.
By virtue of his public purchase price, sold for €22,000 as a foal before going through the ring for €6,000 as a three-year-old, Journey With Me is eligible for the Connolly's Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Series.
De Bromhead said: "Journey With Me has been really good since Christmas – he's in great form. He might go to Leopardstown for the Dublin Racing Festival, or else we could wait for Naas the following week for an auction novice hurdle [on February 12]."
On last season's Ballymore hero Bob Olinger, 11-10 favourite for the Turners Novices' Chase, De Bromhead added: "He more than likely goes straight to Cheltenham. Everything has gone well since his last start."
De Bromhead's Grand Jury was handed entries for the Supreme, Ballymore and Albert Bartlett on Tuesday, having enhanced his reputation in defeat earlier this month when second behind Ginto in the Grade 1 Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle.
"I thought he ran really well at Naas," said the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning trainer.
"He's in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and might go there on his way to Cheltenham, but we'll see how it all unfolds."
Largy Debut, entered for the Supreme and Ballymore, is on course for a crack at the Listed INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle over 2m1½f on February 13.
Having impressed when beating Kilcruit in a Cork maiden hurdle last month, the Chris Jones-owned seven-year-old jumped markedly to his right and was found to have burst a blood vessel when disappointing as 9-4 favourite for the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle.
De Bromhead said: "He's been really good since Christmas but seemed to jump right a lot and hang in that direction. He's got Cheltenham entries and we'll see how he gets on at Punchestown."
On promising Leopardstown maiden hurdle winner Watch House Cross, De Bromhead added: "We've always liked him and hoped he'd run well heading into Christmas. He has an entry for the Dublin Racing Festival but we're not sure yet."
Wide-margin Cork maiden hurdle winner Shantreusse, who holds an Albert Bartlett entry, is under consideration for the Grade 3 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel on February 17.
Stablemates Monalee and Chris's Dream have won the same race in recent years, while De Bromhead's Gold Cup hero Minella Indo finished second to Allaho in the 2019 running.
Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle
Paddy Power: 2 Hollow Games, 9-4 Journey With Me, 11-4 Ginto, 9-2 Grand Jury, 6 Eric Bloodaxe, 9 bar
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