Cheltenham Festival an unlikely destination for Folsom Blue

Conor O’Dwyer has all but ruled out taking Folsom Blue to the Cheltenham Festival after he runs in Thursday’s Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at Thurles.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old has won his last three starts in the manner of a rapidly improving horse.

Due to his preference for testing ground, O’Dwyer is not keen on risking him on what is usually good ground at Cheltenham.

“In my head the ground is not going to be what he wants (at Cheltenham) and it’s a nice race tomorrow, he’s won there before,” said O’Dwyer.

“Nothing is written in stone, but in my own mind he won’t be going.

“Eddie and Michael (O’Leary) are fairly good, they don’t put any pressure on you and like to see the bigger picture.

“They’ve also got other options – I think Charles Brynes’ horse (Sea Of Thunder) runs in the Albert Bartlett.

“Mine’s only five and there is a bigger picture with him, but never say never. I probably wouldn’t have targeted tomorrow if I thought we were going to go over.

“He ran well in two bumpers on goodish ground for Pat Doyle but he just handles the bad ground better than most, he’s more effective on it.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but I’d imagine we’ll keep him at home this year.

“I was delighted with him when he won at Thurles. I picked holes in the race as the favourite, Benefficient (subsequent Grade One winner) obviously hadn’t run up to his mark, but he did it just as easy last time at Clonmel.

“He’s not very big so we’re not thinking about going chasing with him next year. There’s some nice three-mile hurdle races for him first.”

Lyreen Legend has chased home some of Ireland’s best novices this season, finishing second the Monksland and Boston Bob on his last two outings while earlier in the season he was not that far behind Unaccompanied.

“It was a good run at Leopardstown (behind Boston Bob) on heavy ground, he goes on heavy. It will be a bit different tomorrow, it will be sloppy and tacky,” said his trainer Dessie Hughes.

“He’s by Saints Des Saints and the French horses seem to go on anything really.

“All his runs look good on paper and hopefully he’ll give a good account of himself.

“The owner didn’t want him to go to Cheltenham this year, he’s only a five-year-old so hopefully there’ll be plenty of time to go over and he’d rather wait for Punchestown and Fairyhouse.”