Thursday 19 April 2018

Midnight Club can give Mullins clan evening to savour

David Casey

TEAM Mullins always has to be respected and Emmet and Willie have an excellent chance in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown today with The Midnight Club (6.40).

Emmet has a good record on the horse and they renew rivalry with China Rock, whom they beat to third in the Jewson at Cheltenham last month. While this is a quality field with Zaarito and Saddlers Storm capable of good runs, The Midnight Club - owned by the Cistercian College Roscrea Racing Syndicate (where Emmet went to school) - can give the Mullins clan another memorable day.

In the day's big race, the Champion Chase, I ride Barker and I think you'll see a different horse to the one that ran in the Ryanair Chase at Prestbury Park.

His preparation up to that run was far from ideal, but he's come on a lot since then and showed he liked this track when taking the two-mile novice chase here last year. It's a competitive race with proven performers, but some, like Forpadydeplasterer, are coming off the end of a long season and that could be a significant factor.

Twist Magic has won this race before and just doesn't seem to like Cheltenham, as he had a disappointing outing in the Queen Mother, but I'm going to plump for Sizing Europe to take the step out of the novice grade in his stride.

In the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, I'm also expecting a big performance from General Miller, which showed good form when beating Cheltenham winner Menorah at Aintree.

My other ride comes in the '3' Handicap Hurdle where Tarkari should give me a good run. He won at Leopardstown back in February and is a consistent sort. Blueberry Boy might come out on top but, with such a big field, it's an open race with the Joanna Morgan-trained Jigalo also a contender.

In the opening race, don't be surprised if Katie Walsh carries her good form from Cheltenham to Punchestown on Wedger Party. They look to be the class pairing in the field and I think they'll make light work of being top weight to take the Ladies' Cup.

3.40 -- Wedger Pardy

4.20 -- General Miller

4.55 -- Blueberry Boy

5.30 -- Baby Whizz

6.05 -- Sizing Europe

6.40 -- The Midnight Club (Nap)

7.15 -- Laganbank

Irish Independent

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