Trainer Brion looking for a landmark success in Naas

Victory for Winston C or Baltimore Bucko would be a first American-trained winner over jumps in Ireland

WInston C: trainer Keri Brion  plans to give the Eclipse Award winner  a first run in 16 months in the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.

WInston C: trainer Keri Brion plans to give the Eclipse Award winner a first run in 16 months in the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.

 

US trainer Keri Brion has got a crash-course in Irish weather but hopes conditions allow for a potential landmark moment at Naas on Sunday.

Brion, who has taken over the training of half a dozen horses sent to Ireland in November by the now retired Jonathan Sheppard, plans to give the Eclipse Award winner Winston C a first run in 16 months in the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle.

The dual US Grade One winner holds an entry in next weekend’s Irish Champion Hurdle as well as the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Winston C was originally supposed to appear last weekend at Navan only for the meeting to be frozen off.

His stable companion Baltimore Bucko also missed out when Down Royal on Tuesday was cancelled. He takes his chance in a handicap hurdle on Sunday if the weather doesn’t intervene. The situation is being monitored.

“I’ve been told it will probably be okay so long as there isn’t too much rain so fingers crossed,” Brion said on Friday. “It has been very frustrating. We have had three different horses entered that couldn’t run because of the weather.”

Winston C takes on a handful of rivals that include the top-rated Beacon Edge as well as the Willie Mullins-trained Bachasson.

“Winston C is coming back off a long layoff but he’s been over here a long time training away and I think he’s fit and ready to go. These are very good horses there and if we can get even a piece of it and hit the board I will be thrilled,” Brion added.

Victory would mean a first American-trained winner over jumps in Ireland although if Winston C comes up short then Baltimore Bucko might secure that honour.

He was the first of the American string based in Co Wexford to run and ran a good enough third at Limerick over Christmas to suggest he has a major shout.

“I like Baltimore Bucko in there. He has come on a lot for his last run and looking at the form there is nothing that stands out,” Brion commented.

Sunday’s other Grade Three is a novice chase where Pencilfulloflead has to concede 8lbs and more to his rivals.

Such a concession to his stable companion Escaria Ten may be beyond him given how easily that one scored at Thurles before Christmas.

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