Tuesday 24 October 2017

Muirhead and Joncol carry Irish hopes at Newbury

Thomas Kelly

Muirhead and Joncol are set to fly the flag for Ireland in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

Noel Meade's Muirhead landed the Munster National at Limerick before finishing down the field at Ascot last time, while the Paul Nolan-trained Joncol warmed up for this contest with a bloodless win over Cooldine at Thurles.

Ante-post favourite Aiteen Thirtythree also features in the list of 19 confirmations.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old has won twice and finished second twice from four course starts and made a highly encouraging seasonal reappearance when second to Somersby at Kempton.

In-form champion trainer Nicholls has a strong hand as he goes in search of a fourth Hennessy win as a trainer, having also ridden the winner twice during his career in the saddle.


Neptune Collonges tops the weights, while stablemate Michel Le Bon is an interesting contender, having not run since winning a novice chase at this meeting two years ago.

The presence of Neptune Collonges means Muirhead will carry 10st 4lb.

Trainer Noel Meade said: "He'll work in the morning and, provided that goes all right, he'll be heading over.

"It looks as though he's going to get in with a nice racing weight. That will definitely help him as he's not a very big horse."

Great Endeavour, David Pipe's Paddy Power Gold Cup hero, could bid for his second prestigious handicap of the season, while Wymott is a major player for Donald McCain.

Ian Williams could saddle the exciting Wayward Prince and Welsh handler Tim Vaughan is looking forward to running his Scottish National winner Beshabar.

Planet Of Sound, Sarando, The Giant Bolster and Carruthers are others who remain in the reckoning for the weekend feature.

Irish Independent

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