After finishing a creditable fourth in the Galway Plate last month, the eight-year-old claimed the big-race victory he has long promised over fences in the feature event at the Listowel Harvest Festival a fortnight ago.
Trainer Noel Meade feels his charge deserves to return to Graded company on his next appearance before potentially crossing the Irish Sea for the race formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup on December 1.
Meade said: “He’s been a bit unlucky. He was unlucky in Galway and particularly unlucky in the Irish Grand National in the spring when he was going well and Sean (Flanagan) got knocked out of the saddle.
“It was great to see him go and win a big prize and we’ve been happy with him since.
“I’m not entirely sure what we’re going to do with him now, but there is that second-season novice race in Down Royal (November 3) and that would probably be a strong possibility.
“The handicapper put him up 8lb for winning in Listowel and he’s rated 156 now, so he’s not too far off running in those top races.
“I’ll probably give him an entry in the Ladbrokes Trophy in Newbury and see what weight he gets for that.”
One talented performer Meade will not be able to saddle for much of the season is Joey Sasa.
The nine-year-old saw off the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Wicklow Brave and Sharjah on his latest appearance in the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary in July, but was injured during the race.
Meade added: “Unfortunately he got injured in Tipperary and he won’t be back until the back-end of the season.”
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