Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 23 January 2020

Ruby can land feature at Punchestown with Seabass

Richard Forristal

PUNCHESTOWN signs off for its summer break with a cracking card that wouldn't look entirely out of place in the thick of winter.

Seabass, unplaced in the Aintree Grand National after starting favourite, is down for duty under Ruby Walsh in the featured chase.

Among his seven rivals is Jetson, which made the frame in successive major handicap hurdles at Cheltenham, Aintree and Haydock. With Barry Geraghty back up top for a first time since steering Jessica Harrington's charge to victory in a beginners' heat at Downpatrick in November, Jetson has definite appeal on just its fourth chasing start.

Rathlin, Supreme Doc and Treacle are others that add depth to the two-mile-six-furlong conditions contest. But provided the track gets some rain tonight enabling him to run, Seabass is the one to beat. Ted Walsh's once-fragile 10-year-old will probably encounter the fastest ground he has ever raced on here, but he will take plenty of stopping if allowed to take his chance. He is very well in at the weights on ratings, so the €13,000 winner's prize is his for the taking.

The equivalent contest over two-and-a-quarter miles is another intriguing affair, with Burn And Turn, Moon Dice, Toner D'Oudaires, Far Away So Close and Tribes And Banner all in attendance.

Over two miles here earlier in the month, Tribes And Banner recorded a decisive victory from Far Away So Close for Charlie Swan and John Cullen. On just his second chasing start for two years, he could well build on that again now, but Far Away So Close might just be able to exploit an 11lb swing at the weights under Geraghty.

Paul Nolan's Gigginstown Stud-owned eight-year-old was closest at the line last time, so the longer trip ought to help his cause.

The 20-runner two-mile handicap hurdle is another absolutely superb contest in which easy Killarney victor Cry For The Moon and Monday's facile Ballinrobe scorer Norah Starr should figure prominently.

With in-form claimer David Splaine up, the Jim Culloty-trained Cry For The Moon is feared, but a hike of 13lbs means that the handicapper hasn't missed him.

Walsh and Willie Mullins rely on Gowran Park bumper winner Indevan in the maiden hurdle, but Some Article for Mullins' brother Tom is preferred in that. Fourth to Un Atout at Navan in December, the 2012 Goffs Bumper hero has a touch of class.

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