Top Irish rainer Gordon Elliott has a host of exciting young prospects to go to war with in the 2019/20 season and among them is the unbeaten Andy Dufresne.
This five-year-old was purchased for just €8,000 by Elliott’s travelling head girl Camilla Sharples and won his sole start in an Irish point in impressive fashion.
That win came in a nine-runner contest at Borris House in March 2018 under Jamie Codd where after being waited with at the rear he made stealthy headway to take up the running travelling strongly entering the home straight.
Andy Dufresne then quickened clear to from home to win as he liked by six lengths from Faustinovick in a decent time.
That most taking success saw him go under the hammer at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival sale six days later where he was snapped up by leading Irish owner JP McManus for a whopping £330,000 – making him the joint-top lot with Feel My Pulse.
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Scintillating at Down Royal
Andy Dufresne then joined 23-time Cheltenham Festival winning handler Elliott and was widely talked of as a potential star ahead of his eagerly awaited debut under rules in a nine-runner bumper at Down Royal in January of this year.
After being backed off the boards and sent off the 8/15 favourite, he lived up to the hype and scored a sensational style under Derek O’Connor.
The crack amateur rider settled Andy Dufresne in behind the leaders before taking up the running after three furlongs.
He then tanked along at the head of affairs and after being asked to go about his business approaching the final furlong stretched effortlessly clear to very easily beat Golden Spread by 10 lengths.
The runner-up is a useful sort trained by Willie Mullins who went on to win his next two starts before finishing eighth in a Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown Festival, so that gives the form a solid look.
Speaking after the race, Elliott said: “We always thought a lot of Andy Dufresne but we were waiting for a bit of rain to run him.
“Derek said the race didn’t go right for him but he still did what he did. We think he’s as nice as any of the good bumper horses we’ve run all year.”
Andy Dufresne looked in a totally different league to his rivals and it was a performance which oozed class.
He was fancied by many and at the head of the betting for the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival on the back of it, but Elliott decided that he was not ready for such a test.
Strapping Sort with Bags of Potential
The County Meath based handler deemed the strapping son of Doyen to weak to do himself justice at such an early stage of his career and decided to out him away and allow him to grow into his frame over the summer months.
That looks like a shrewd move as Andy Dufresne is clearly a hugely exciting prospect who could go right to the top over hurdles in the 2019/20 season judged on what I witnessed at Down Royal.
He strikes me as the ideal type for the traditional curtain raiser at the Cheltenham Festival – the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
That is because he has a high cruising speed and turn of foot which are the ideal attributes for the 2m test.
Elliott won the race in 2017 with the quirky but talented Labaik and McManus has seen his famous gold and green hooped colours carried to victory in it twice courtesy of Like A Butterfly (2002) and Captain Cee Bee (2008).
Andy Dufresne is currently a top priced 25/1 with Paddy Power in the ante post betting for the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
He appeals as the type that will make up into a cracking hurdler and one to keep firmly onside in the 2019/20 season.
There are plenty of top races to be won with him and Andy Dufresne is a must for anyone’s horses-to-follow list.
He is one horse that I cannot wait to see in action over the obstacles and I will be following his career with the utmost interest.