Noble Prince proves too hot to handle
NOBLE PRINCE made the perfect start to life over fences with an easy success in the Dobbins Panoramic Restaurant Beginners' Chase at Punchestown yesterday.
A high-class performer over timber and fifth in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the Paul Nolan-trained six-year-old jumped well throughout, his only scare coming at the second-last when Saludos blundered and momentarily hampered him.
However, Paul Carberry soon had the 9/10 favourite back on an even keel and he popped the last before coming home hard held, with a length and three-quarters to spare over Healys Bar.
Totesport reacted with a 20/1 quote for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.
Nolan, who was in Newmarket at the sales, was represented by his brother James. He said of the €150,000 purchase out of Andre Fabre's yard a couple of years ago: "He settled well, which has been an issue with him before.
"We made a mess of him last season, running him back in the Lismullen Hurdle just a week after winning at Naas and we won't be doing that again, as he needs time between his races.
"He might just lack a gear against the top horses over two miles and probably doesn't see out three miles -- we'd see him as more of a middle-distance horse (between two and two and a half miles).
"He could come back here for the Craddockstown Chase (on November 14) and the Drinmore would be another possible race for him. Two and a half miles would be as far as he wants to go for now."
The Nolan team had struck earlier with the Alain Cawley-ridden Seafield, a half-brother to Joncol, in the Punchestown Event Centre Maiden Hurdle.
Carberry also got in on the double act when taking the Christmas Parties At Punchestown Beginners Chase on Thegreatjohnbrowne (8/1) for Noel Meade.
The six-year-old had a growth removed from his throat since last season and Meade's brother, Ben, said: "He disappointed last year after starting great but things went wrong. Hopefully he's back to himself now. He won there like a good horse."