Brave Inca in top trim

COLM MURPHY has reported Brave Inca to have come out of his victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle “exceptionally well”.

Ridden by Tony McCoy, the 7-4 favourite returned to one of the biggest cheers at the Cheltenham Festival after his game one-length success from Macs Joy.

The Co Wexford-based handler hinted that the eight-year-old may now be seen on a racecourse twice before the end of the season.

“It was a fantastic week,” said Murphy. “He has come out of the race exceptionally well, we’ve been delighted with him - he is in great order.

“All being well, I would say that we will be heading to Punchestown with him.

“He fell in the Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles last year and we haven’t completely ruled that out yet either.

“But, at this stage, Punchestown is his target.

“He has come out of Cheltenham in such good form though that Aintree is also an option.”

Murphy also refused to rule out the possibility of going chasing with his stable star - an option that had been mooted earlier in the season.

He added: “We haven’t discussed going chasing with him for a while and we’ll see how we get on at Punchestown.

“I’ll have a chat with the owners before we rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, Feathard Lady is unlikely to appear at the Punchestown Festival in April - but plans are fluid for her return to action next season.

Colm Murphy’s mare, who has a 100% record in her seven starts to date, shot to prominence in Britain with an impressive 12-length victory in the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Sandown on St Stephen’s Day.

However, she was denied her place in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle after spraining a hind fetlock joint on the gallops.

“Feathard Lady is back in work again but it is very unlikely that she will go to Punchestown now,” said Murphy.

“We would have had to really push on with her and it’s just going to come a little bit quick.

“It’s a little disappointing but the great thing is that we’ll have her back next season.

“At the moment we have no plans to keep her away from Brave Inca as they are owned by different people so they will probably clash somewhere along the line.”

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