French Dynamite is expected to head to Leopardstown's Christmas meeting
French Dynamite is expected to head to Leopardstown's Christmas meeting

Trainer Mouse Morris says the "long-term aim" for French Dynamite is to race in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting on December 29. 

French Dynamite kicked off the year in impressive fashion by winning the Seamus Meade Hurdle at Leopardstown in March, finishing some nine lengths clear of second-placed Judgement Day. 

A trip to Fairyhouse then followed and the six-year-old narrowly lost out to the Willie Mullins-trained Stormy Ireland, before the Robcour-owned charge could then only manage fourth in the Grade 1 Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown on next outing. 

Another below-average performance came at Cork in October, as the bay gelding was fifth in a seven-runner field, but he bounced back with aplomb at Punchestown when getting off the mark over fences at the second attempt. 

Racing at Punchestown in a Beginners Chase over 2m 3f 150y, French Dynamite swept aside the field to win by a convincing six lengths from Dewcup in second, while Torygraph and Farceur Du Large were further back in third and fourth respectively. 

It was a brilliant display to land his second win of the year and, off the back of that victory, Morris believes he will have to step his charge up in class sooner rather than later. 

Speaking on the plans ahead, the Co Tipperary trainer said: "He's fine. He's in good fettle. I don't know where I go next with him. 

"I might have to step him up in grade as the programme over here is not conducive to a horse like him.

"I'd say any trip from two and a half miles to three is fine for him. We'll see how he goes on. The three-mile novice chase at Leopardstown over Christmas will be the long-term aim." 

Willie Mullins' Monkfish is another horse set for the Neville Hotels Novice Chase
Willie Mullins' Monkfish is another horse set for the Neville Hotels Novice Chase

The Willie Mullins-trained Monkfish, who will have Paul Townend in the saddle, is fancied to win the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting following victories at that Irish venue and Cheltenham this year. 

The seven-year-old landed the Flogas Novice Chase in Ireland by a mighty 11 lengths from Latest Exhibition, who is set to reoppose, before winning the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park in March by nearly seven lengths. 

Other contenders currently set to feature in the Novice Chase are Conflated, for trained Gordon Elliott, Noel Meade's Eurobot and Paul Hennessy's Heaven Help Us, who also triumphed at the Cheltenham Festival. 

The seven-year-old produced a commanding performance to take the Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle spoils, beating the Nicky Henderson-trained Craigneiche by some nine lengths, while the likes of Tea Clipper, Sayo and Janika were further behind. 

Recent runs at Punchestown have not gone to plan for Heaven Help Us, who has finished 10th and sixth, but connections are feeling optimistic about seeing an improved performance from the mare.

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