Causey Arch has his first outing for Colin McBratney in the WKD Rated Hurdle at Downpatrick on Sunday — with his new handler eyeing a possible trip to Galway in the summer.
Formerly with champion trainer Willie Mullins, Causey Arch has been off the track for over a year, but the dual-purpose performer has shown decent form in the past.
McBratney has done well with Mullins cast-offs in the past, with Marito progressing into a leading hunter chaser not too long ago.
“He is in very good form at home, but he’s a horse that probably wants a better surface,” said McBratney.
“He’s won on summer soft ground, but I just need to get him started somewhere. He’s quite hard to place with his handicap mark (125), so when this race became available for him, I thought I’d give him a run. I hope he’ll run well, but it’s just the ground that’s a worry for him.”
He added: “We’ve been lucky getting horses off Willie in the past, this fellow has had leg trouble so we’ve given him plenty of time, but he’s one to look forward to as he’s very well handicapped on the Flat.
“With that in mind I hope he’s one we can look forward to in the summer and we’d be hoping he might get us to Galway or something later in the year.”
Gordon Elliott’s pair of The Very Man and Road To Dubai, along with Charles Byrnes’ Wajaaha are set to be among the market principals.
McBratney is well represented throughout the card, but put up Benefit North as his best of the rest in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.
“Benefit North has been unlucky this season,” said McBratney. “He was fourth at Punchestown (in January) and he was still travelling well last time out when he fell at the second-last.
“You have to ride him for a little luck, but he handles Downpatrick and should be in the first three.”