Joy on course for Champion

Macs Joy is on course for another crack at the Smurfit Champion Hurdle after bouncing back to form at Leopardstown last time.

After a fruitful campaign last season which included two Grade One wins, he disappointed in the Champion Hurdle when only fifth.

However, he has been campaigned with Cheltenham in mind this year and trainer Jessica Harrington believes he will arrive at Prestbury Park a fresh horse.

“I was thrilled with him at Leopardstown,” Harrington told At The Races.

“I knew before the race he maybe wasn’t quite 100% yet as he was still a bit big. I knew 10 days before the AIG he was getting better every day though and he proved it.

“He’d had a hard season last year, he’d won on the flat before he started out hurdling.

“The AIG also took a lot out of him last year and he arrived at Cheltenham a little flat.”

If everything goes to plan for the seven-year-old, Harrington is already considering a tilt at next season’s Irish Independent Arkle Trophy.

“We are hoping he will go and jump a fence next year but he is not over big so we will just see how it goes – the Arkle could be the plan though,” she added.

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