Damut facing class rise at Fairyhouse
Trainer Joe Dullea is looking forward to seeing stable star Damut test his powers in Grade Three company as he goes in search of a of a fifth successive victory in the rescheduled Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
The seven-year-old has notched up a four-timer in handicaps with two wins at both Cork and Clonmel.
Damut was on a mark of 89 when he started his spree and was put up to 131 following his latest 12-length verdict over two and a half miles at Cork a month ago.
That hike in the ratings left Dullea will little choice but to take on better company.
"He's been brilliant, without a doubt. He's stepping up in class now. The handicapper made us go this way so he'll take his chance," said the County Cork handler.
"We're hopeful he'll get the trip. Others in the race are the same, stepping up to three miles, so we're all in the same boat, but he certainly wasn't stopping the last day over two-and-a-half.
"He stayed the trip at Mallow (Cork) well that day, so we're hopeful.
"He handled the ground well that day. Hopefully he'll run a big race."
Damut is among five horses declared for a race that has been saved on a few occasions following the cancellation of Cork the last two Sundays and Clonmel's fixture earlier this week.
Top owners Giggingstown House Stud are doubly-represented with the Willie Mullins-trained Gangster and Cogryhill from Gordon Elliott's stable in the mix.
The Mags Mullins-trained Last Encounter, third in the Grade Two Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan last month, and Harry Kelly's Cheiliuradh complete the quintet.