Our Vinnie to score on chasing debut
OUR VINNIE is the star attraction in the second of two proper beginners' chases at Punchestown this afternoon.
Charles Byrnes' six-year-old chinned the classy Rule The World when securing the first of two three-mile graded wins over flights at Cork a year ago, before losing little in defeat when third to Pont Alexandre and Sizing Gold over two-and-a-half at Leopardstown in January.
On his only subsequent start at Cheltenham in March, he was brought down in the three-mile Grade One with a circuit to go, when he was showing up well on unsuitably good ground.
In short, Our Vinnie has the makings of a cracking three-mile chaser, so he is fancied to have the quality to defy the two-and-a-half-mile trip on his fencing bow under Rob Jones here.
Corbally Ghost makes a quick reappearance in the same race after exiting early at Galway on Monday, and Clonbanan Lad will try to build on his encouraging second to Owega Star at Listowel.
Operating, Si C'Etait Vrai and Call Rog are all able sorts, while Ruby Walsh takes the reins on Pat Fahy's Punchestown Grade One novice hurdle scorer Morning Assembly.
Another that relishes a test, Walsh's mount is massively unexposed, but Our Vinnie will have too much quality if he takes to the bigger obstacles.
While the two-mile equivalent doesn't boast the same calibre of horse, it is still an intriguing affair.
Robert Tyner's Way Up In The Air is of interest on its return, as is JP McManus' Henry de Bromhead-trained Elegant Statesman following its third to Run With The Wind at Listowel.
That experience will stand to Mark Walsh's partner, but his syndicate-owned stablemate Too Scoops is preferred on the back of his promising turn at Gowran Park recently.
Too Scoops was just beginning to tire when he crashed out at the second-last there, leaving Art Of Logistics and Balnaslow to go clear of Golanbrook.
That form has held up brilliantly since, so de Bromhead's mud-lover ought to take plenty of beating under Andrew Lynch now.
The Gigginstown Stud team should collect with Dessie Hughes' Thunder And Roses in the longer maiden hurdle, with the nap vote going to Toe The Line in the bumper.
John Kiely's mare obliged in style on her Listowel bow, and No Cash Flow, the de Bromhead-trained runner-up, franked the form by cantering up by 18 lengths at Cork last week.
In between, the sixth Voluptueux, won at Limerick.
If form and visual impressions count for anything, then, Toe The Line will take some stopping for Derek O'Connor.