Pat Fahy believes Castlegrace Paddy is “the real deal” following his runaway success at Cork on Sunday.
The seven-year-old made a big impression after winning his first two starts over fences last season, but finished a disappointing fifth of six runners behind Footpad when stepped up to Grade One level at the Punchestown Festival.
However, he looked a different horse on his seasonal reappearance in the Hilly Way Chase, coming home 16 lengths clear of his nearest rival after hot favourite Great Field fell at the second fence.
Fahy said: “He came out of the race great. He was ridden on Tuesday morning, he’s as sound as you’d like and out in the paddock. We’re delighted.
“We’ll never know what would have happened had the favourite stood up. If he’d stood up and we’d beaten him, we’d have a better idea of where we are, but we’re not complaining.
“He won pretty easy on the day and the dream is still alive at this stage.”
Castlegrace Paddy is set to return to Grade One company in the Paddy’s Rewards Club “Sugar Paddy” Chase at Leopardstown on December 27, where his potential rivals include Footpad, Great Field and John Durkan winner Min.
“As long as the ground is nice and safe, the plan is to go to Leopardstown. I wouldn’t want to run him on very quick ground as he’s a big horse, but I’d say he’s versatile enough,” Fahy added.
“I think he’s a proper horse – he’s the real deal – and if we have a bit of luck and conditions are right, we’ll try to enjoy him.”