Saturday 16 December 2017

Gilgamboa ready for step up


Anita Chambers

Gilgamboa will try to prove class conquers all as he shoulders top weight in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown today. The seven-year-old was one of the leading novice chasers around last term, ending the campaign on a high with victory in the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April. The Enda Bolger-trained gelding made a promising reappearance when third to Djakadam in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase three weeks ago.

Gilgamboa is reported to have benefited from that outing and is expected to put up a bold show with 5lb claimer Jack Kennedy taking the ride rather than Barry Geraghty. “He’s a lot of weight, but he’s come out of his race well from Punchestown,” said Frank Berry, racing manager for JP McManus. “Enda’s very happy with him. It’s very competitive. He has it all to do with 11st 10lb on his back, but hopefully he can run a good race. He looks as though he should have come on for the run, so fingers crossed.”

Bolger is looking forward to stepping Gilgamboa up to three miles. “He’ll like the ground and it’s his first time over three miles, so I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

Geraghty rides Eddie Harty’s Minella Foru, one of eight runners for McManus. Leading owners Alan and Ann Potts were set to be doubly represented but Grand Jesture will be on his own now, with Sizing Gold suffering a late setback.

Liam Burke saddles two runners in Sumos Novios and My Murphy. The talented but fragile Sumos Novios appears the stable’s number one hope after impressing on his Punchestown comeback three weeks ago. “We’re putting the blinkers on him and I think they’ll help, so he has his chance,” said Burke.

Ballychorus has won four races since May for trainer Mags Mullins and owner Barry Connell and was still in with a chance when crashing out at the final fence in the Troytown at Navan last month. She takes her chance in handicap company again instead of stepping up to Grade One level for Tuesday’s Neville Hotels Novice Chase. Gordon Elliott also has a strong hand with four runners.

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