Rest will become the prevailing order of the day for Noel Kelly-trained, seven-year-old Decor Irlandais ahead of March’s prestigious Cheltenham Festival.
Decor put in a fine performance at Warwick on Saturday, albeit in a losing effort. But Kelly was satisfied with the run – especially given it was his first one in some time – and has revealed that the horse won’t be competing in any other races before Cheltenham.
With jockey, Mr N McParlan, sat atop, Decor took on the Grade Two Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle on the back of three under rules victories at Cartmel and Catterick. Saturday’s test, however, was a step up. He took up the lead in the home straight but fell behind Mossy Fen, a Nigel Twiston Davies-trained five-year-old – in the closing stages of the run.
“It was great to see him run so well,” Kelly said, per Racing TV. “We can go to Cheltenham now and expect a good day out, which for a small yard like ours is brilliant.
“He’s come home well and seems in very good form. We’ll give him 10 days off and then light him up for Cheltenham and hope to get a good rattle out of him. You won’t see him run before Cheltenham. We’ll give him two good gallops somewhere and go straight there.”
The trainer reckons Decor will have learned from his experience over the weekend, although the fact that there’s not much difficulty in regular stable tasks and training runs could be an issue.
“I think he’ll learn a lot from his run the other day,” Kelly added.
“It’s the first time he’s been in a proper race, and he was probably in front a bit too soon.
“He’s won his other races handily enough, and we haven’t got anything that can get him off the bridle at home – he does everything too easy, that’s the problem.”
Cheltenham’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle are the two favoured races for Decor Irlandis.
“We’ll probably go for one of the better races (rather than a handicap), because there’ll be a smaller field, and we’ll try to run into a place,” Kelly noted.
“If he could run into a place we’d be delighted – and anything after that would be a bonus. You think Cheltenham is still a long way off, but really it’s only round the corner.”
The John Devine-owned ace is 66/1 to win at the Ballymore in March with Bet365, the only top bookmaker currently offering odds for the Cheltenham Festival as it pertains to Decor Irlandais in this particular race.
Envoi Allen is the outright favourite for this one at 11/8 with said bookies. Easywork is next up at 10/1 while Fiddleontheroof is 12/1. Ladbrokes are offering 14/1 on The Big Breakaway and 8/1 on Thyme Hill but you could get 14/1 odds on the latter with Betfair.
Bet365 have Decor Irlandais at 33/1 for the Albert Bartlett, however, Thyme Hill is favoured for that triumph at 5/1. You could snatch odds of 10/1 on Fury Road from William Hill, who are also offering 12/1 on The Big Breakaway and Latest Exhibition.
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