Benbulben class can prevail
GORDON ELLIOTT'S deeply promising Mount Benbulben is napped to prevail in what is an exciting beginners' chase at Punchestown this afternoon.
The two-and-a-half-mile contest will be no stroll, with the likes of Lyreen Legend, The Westerner Boy and Boss Croaker all fair hurdlers that will be better for the switch to fences. In all, Gigginstown Stud has four representatives on duty, and Paul Nolan's point-to-point winner Panther Claw is the sort that could yet prove smart.
However, the Noel Meade-trained Sword Of Destiny, which Davy Russell has opted for, is most feared, having looked every inch a chaser when obliging on both starts over flights last year. The angular grey will surely excel at this game but, in relation to Mount Benbulben, he is a raw individual that might just need this experience.
A point-to-point winner in January last year, Mount Benbulben, also a dual bumper scorer, is more streetwise. He numbered Rebel Fitz among his victims when twice successful over flights and was hardly disgraced when second to Boston Bob in a Navan Grade One.
On his only subsequent start, Mount Benbulben was a fair seventh on good ground in the three-mile novices' hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Davy Condon's mount will be more at home in the mud today, so his class should tell now that he goes chasing.
In the handicap chase, Davy Fitzgerald's Russell-ridden Bangonform bids to follow up Friday's Tramore victory under a 6lb penalty. He certainly has some appeal here given how easily he won that day, but Miss Pepperpot is marginally preferred.
A dual winner in the mud for Francis Flood last term, the Winged Love mare signed off with a fine second to Caduceus at Punchestown. Paddy Kennedy takes 5lb off her back now, so there is plenty to like about her off a 2lb higher mark.
Earlier, Prunella Dobbs' lightly raced Listowel bumper winner Ravensbury could go close under Barry Geraghty in the maiden hurdle, while Tarla will take plenty of beating for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh in the mares' Grade Three hurdle. Mae's Choice is the obvious danger, but she may struggle to concede weight to the race-fit Tarla.