The Gordon Elliott-trained Jessies Dream has come through his latest piece of serious work in fine style and connections are set to let him take his chance in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 16, writes Elliot Slater.
The eight-year-old has never before left the shores of his native Ireland but will bid for the three-mile novice chasing championship race on the back of what has already been a highly successful season in which he has made the transition from decent hurdler to smart novice chaser with notable ease. Rated 140 at his best over timber, the Presenting gelding has already exceeded that mark by 7lbs and the chances are that there is still more to come, something that is reflected in the latest Cheltenham betting odds.
Making his fencing debut at Galway in late-October, Jessies Dream put in a fine round of jumping and was always travelling best of the 15-runners under Davy Condon, eventually being pushed out on the run-in to record a three-length victory. Thrown in at the deep end on only his second outing, Elliott sent his promising chaser to Fairyhouse in mid-December to tackle the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase, a race that saw the reappearance of the outstanding Willie Mullins-trained novice hurdler Mikael d’Haguenet.
With all eyes on the Mullins horse, Jessies Dream went about his business jumping well and travelling smoothly to take up the running under Timmy Murphy going to the second last. He was being pressed by Mikael d’Haguenet at the final fence (and it would certainly have been close between the pair), when his rival took a tumble leaving Jessies Dream to run on bravely (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/) to score by five-lengths from another Grade 1 winner Realt Dubh.
Narrowly beaten by Magnanimity in a tactical three-runner race at Leopardstown last time out in heavy ground, Jessies Dream still looks a horse to contend with at Cheltenham and will go there fresh and well as a solid contender, currently offered at a best priced 9/1 second favourite behind hotpot Time for Rupert (5/2f).