Noble Prince to reign supreme for Nolan yard
The action in Ireland's Beginners Chase league, which was cranked up a gear at Galway on Monday as Jessies Dream took a couple of notable scalps, intensifies this afternoon at Punchestown with two pretty competitive renewals.
While there's a full field of 18 plus three reserves for the longer Christmas Parties version, just eight of the 14 initial acceptors face the starter in the Dobbins Panoramic Restaurant promotion over the minimum trip, headed by Noble Prince.
A good money-spinner over timber for Paul Nolan's yard at a variety of distances, Paul Carberry's mount is overdue a return to the winner's enclosure for owner Des Sharkey and today's assignment could provide connections with something to cheer.
Last seen at the Kildare venue's Festival when a close fourth to Quevega over three miles in late April, this regular Grade One competitor over the smaller obstacles should still have the pace to cope with fellow chasing debutants Saludos and Healys Bar.
Gowran Park casualty Bob Lingo and Otay Kawn, which have their share of previous outings in this sphere, have yet to convince and Prince Of Fire's official hurdles rating of 117 leaves him with something to find with both Noble Prince (144) and Healys Bar (140).
The next version over an extra half-mile, won a year ago by Pandorama, is more complicated, with several newcomers to this fare interwoven on last season's hurdles form, notably Arabella Boy and Magnanimity, which were second and third to Rigour Back Bob over three miles here in April.
Jessica Harrington's Bostons Angel, which won nicely in Cork and at Doncaster last winter, and Gates Of Rome, likewise a dual scorer over timber, can be expected to prove much more effective on softer ground than they encounter on this occasion.
Cases can be made too for Definitive Edge, whose form dipped last term, course winner Smoking Aces, Thegreatjohnbrowne and Questions Answered to further muddy the waters, so a chance is taken with Enda Bolger's Arabella Boy in the hands of regular partner Nina Carberry.
French import Pointilliste, which made a promising jumping debut when sixth at Navan a month ago to Oneeightofamile, probably has what it takes to add the Thoroughbred Trail Weekend Maiden Hurdle to Noel Meade's ever-increasing haul of recent days.
The former champion trainer, however, has no runner in the concluding mares winner's bumper and here it may pay to follow Christy Roche's Ross Bay, a daughter of Flemensfirth which came up against an ultra-smart sort when second to Bullock Harbour in Listowel.