Flyer set for lift-off as Bowe eyes Drinmore prize
The prospect of a tilt at a Fairyhouse Grade One that might lack a bit of depth appears to be luring Colin Bowe into a change of plan for his prolific novice chaser Shantou Flyer.
Bowe's terrier-like five-year-old has progressed apace over fences, winning four of his last five starts and completing a hat-trick when claiming supposedly superior scalps in a Punchestown Grade Two a fortnight ago. He has already run seven times over fences and won at Cheltenham, so he would be an old hand relative to some of his higher profile rivals in Sunday's Bar One Racing Drinmore Novices' Chase.
There are just nine entries for the €85,000 two-and-a-half-miler, and market leaders No More Heroes, Monksland, Free Expression and Outlander have each run just once over fences.
Shantou Flyer is as big as 12/1 to secure a first Grade One for the wily Co Wexford handler, whose initial reaction after Punchestown was to wait with him until Christmas or beyond. "He's in great form and, while I appreciate he has been busy, he has a lot of experience and it's a very big pot," Bowe said of Shantou Flyer's potential participation on Sunday.
"The ground doesn't bother him, he's won on good and heavy, but over this sort of trip he'd probably want a bit of dig. So, while I haven't decided yet, it's very tempting."
The official going on the chase course at the Co Meath venue is being given as soft. Enda Bolger has also outlined plans for two of his stable stars, with Gilgamboa likely to reappear in Grade One company at Punchestown on Sunday week. "Gilgamboa is in the John Durkan and the plan is to start him off there," Bolger said of the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old, which won Fairyhouse's other Grade One novices' chase, the Ryanair Gold Cup, when last seen in April.
"We're happy enough with him and it's the only race he's really eligible for. I'd prefer not to start off so hot, but he has to start there."
The Co Limerick-based maestro also stated that classy hunter chaser On The Fringe could again reappear at Down Royal on St Stephen's Day. McManus's 10-year-old completed a memorable hat-trick at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown last spring, having been beaten on his return in the north, a race he won in 2013.
"We haven't really thought about it, but he's in full work and he's about a month away from a run, so it might slot in for him," Bolger suggested.
"If we don't, there's no great panic; he could even start back in a point-to-point. That'd be with a view to getting him ready to go to Leopardstown in February for that meeting. They're the normal steps we take with him."