City Island wins Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival

City Island beats favourite Champ to win Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle during day two of Cheltenham Festival

  • City Island won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle by two lengths on Wednesday
  • The 8-1 winner, trained by Martin Brassil, was one of six horses vying for the lead
  • Walsh added to the Champion Hurdle victory he picked up on the opening day 

City Island provided jockey Mark Walsh with his second winner of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, as they scored a two-length success from the well-backed Champ in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

The 8-1 winner, trained by Martin Brassil, was one of six horses vying for the lead as the field approached the second-last.

By the last, though, the six-year-old was in front and was driven out to stay there in the opening race on day two of the meeting as Walsh added to his Champion Hurdle victory on Tuesday. 

City Island, ridden by jockey Mark Walsh, wins the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on Wednesday

City Island, ridden by jockey Mark Walsh, wins the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday

City Island (right) gets away from the favourite, Champ, during the 1.30pm race at Cheltenham

City Island (right) gets away from the favourite, Champ, during the 1.30pm race at Cheltenham

City Island provided jockey Walsh with his second winner of the Cheltenham Festival

City Island provided jockey Walsh with his second winner of the Cheltenham Festival

RESULT 

 1 City Island (M P Walsh) 8-1

2 Champ (B J Geraghty) 9-2

3 Bright Forecast (Nico de Boinville) 25-1

An impressed Walsh said: ‘We still don’t know how good he is because even when he gets to the front he doesn’t do a stroke.’

It was a landmark first Festival success for Grand National-winning trainer Brassil.

He said: ‘It’s been a long time coming. You need good horses to bring here. We found one.

‘The thought I had was you bring a horse here thinking he’s unbeatable and you might have a chance of him doing something good then.

‘It’s great to have a Festival winner on your CV.’

Walsh gives a thumbs-up to the crowd after crossing the finish line first with City Island

Walsh gives a thumbs-up to the crowd after crossing the finish line first with City Island

Walsh, trainer Martin Brassil and City Island pose the cameras following Wednesday's win

Walsh, trainer Martin Brassil and City Island pose the cameras following Wednesday’s win

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