Wednesday 22 November 2017

Realt looks a dark horse to follow

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

While the Grade One Dobbins and Madigans Hurdle is the main event at Punchestown tomorrow, the two graded novices chases earlier on the card are also set to be hugely informative.

Last season's Irish Independent Arkle Trophy hero Sizing Europe landed the Grade Two Craddockstown Novice Chase at this fixture 12 months ago. There is no such high-profile contender among tomorrow's field of six, but all bar the exposed Jigalo have the potential to make very smart chasers.

Noble Prince and Realt Dubh may be the two to concentrate on, with the latter likely to represent the best value option. Noble Prince was certainly the more prolific of the duo over timber, consistently placed in some decent staying hurdles.

However, while he won over two miles on his chasing debut at the Kildare venue last month, he may be a little vulnerable over the trip now that he steps up in class. Realt Dubh ought to trade around 5/2 and he would not be too short at that.

Having been off the track for a year after his novice hurdling campaign, the Beneficial gelding ran a blinder to be third at Fairyhouse last April. He was then put away for the summer by Noel Meade and returned to post an impressive chasing debut when he beat Sweeps Hill and Venalmar at Navan in September.

On his only subsequent outing, Realt Dubh fell when travelling well at Galway last month. As a result, he comes here on a bit of a retrieval mission, but he is potentially very smart.

In the Grade Three that follows, Sam Adams is fancied to upset Meade's likely favourite Thegreatjohnbrowne. Healys Bar, Erritt Lake and Tharawaat complete a select line up that have all achieved more than the selection up to now.

Nonetheless, Paul Nolan's Presenting gelding promised much in some good novices last term. Sam Adams caught the eye again when fourth on his reappearance at Cork recently, so it would be no surprise to see him progress here.

Irish Independent

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