Past Winners » City Island


(Message of 9th February 2019)

I have been toying with the idea of backing City Island for the Ballymore Hurdle for a little while now and, given that he is set to run in the opening race today, I think that it makes sense to back him now, instead of waiting for non-runner-no-bet offers across the board.

There is a lot to like about Martin Brassil’s horse as a Ballymore contender.  He beat the highly-regarded Valdieu in a bumper at Punchestown last May, he beat Getareason and Debuchet in a maiden hurdle at Galway in August, and he beat Dallas Des Pictons in another maiden hurdle (he lost the Galway maiden hurdle subsequently) at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day.

Each run was a step up on what went before, and his Leopardstown win was probably a career-best.  He was impressive in beating Dallas Des Pictons, and Dallas Des Pictons ran in the big William Fry Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday, and battled on well to win nicely off a mark of 130.  The handicapper has since raised him to a mark of 137. 

City Island beat Dallas Des Pictons on merit at Leopardstown, and he has the potential to be a fair bit better than that.  He stayed two miles and five furlongs at Galway, yet he had the pace to win over two miles at Leopardstown.  He is owned by the sponsor of the Ballymore Hurdle, and it is interesting that it is the only entry that he holds at Cheltenham, and that Martin Brassil mentioned the race as a possible target after he won at Leopardstown.  Also, some of those towards the head of the market in the Ballymore Hurdle are not certain runners. 

He should win well today and, if he does, it is easy to see his Ballymore odds being shorter this evening than they are now.