Joncolset to be a super sub

IT’S time to move on now and this weekend is all about riding in Ireland, at Naas today and Navan tomorrow.

I think I have some decent chances and will be rather disappointed if ending the two days without getting a winner or two somewhere along the way.

One of my more interesting bookings is Joncol for Paul Nolan in the novice chase at Naas. This, of course, is the meeting which was postponed last Sunday due to snow.

Originally, I was set to partner Financial Reward for Willie Mullins, but he doesn't run and Joncol is a fair old substitute.

He is a fine big horse, with a lot of scope, and I'm very much looking forward to teaming up with him for the first time.

Joncol is unbeaten in his two races over fences so far, starting at Punchestown in early December.

He wasn’t seen then until Naas last month when bolting in by ten lengths for Padddy Flood. I particularly liked what I saw that afternoon and the six-year-old should be hard to beat, even if he has to concede weight all round.

Sports Line is well capable of running a big race, in what looks a fairly competitive novice hurdle.

He won nicely at Punchestown and, on the evidence of that effort, will be more than suited by now racing left-handed.

At Punchestown, he constantly jumped to his left, but was able to get away with it simply because he was easily the best horse in the contest.

The ground will be perfect, he'll battle and is not a bad horse. It's a far more testing assignment than last time, however, but I'm hoping Sports Line will prove up to it.

As I told you here a week ago, I'm partnering Southern Vic in a handicap chase to get a real feel of him on the racecourse.

He is one of four or five I could end up partnering in the Grand National at Aintree and have to begin to thin them out and to edge closer to making a decision.

Putting blinkers on for the first time could be a big help and, hopefully, he might now start to come back to something approaching his best.

I'm on Mullach Na Si in a handicap hurdle and he has to leave a dreadful effort at Gowran Park behind if having any sort of chance.

This fellow is working well at home and is far better then he showed at Gowran, so should at least do better now.

I have two other rides at Naas, Kathuna and Cyril Lord, and will be more than surprised if they can get involved. I have some real live possibilites at Navan, starting with Lilywhitedancer in the first division of the maiden hurdle.

He was a bit disappointing over hurdles and was then given a decent break by Willie Mullins. Lilywhitedancer reappeared at Fairyhouse in February, in a handicap. Paul Townend rode and he actually started favourite. In the end, he was beaten a head into second, but has plenty of experience and is entitled to come on for the outing.

Barker made a great start for Willie when I rode him to win easily, by no less than 17 lengths, at Downpatrick and has obvious prospects in a novice chase.

The worry I have, though, is he jumped to his right then and that would not be entirely apppropriate, to say the least, round here.

Barker is a horse with a touch of class and, if behaving jumping-wise, is well capable of going in again.

My third of the day for Willie comes on Palace Merano in the novice hurdle. He's no star, but has loads going for him all the same.

This is a contest over two miles and seven and that's going to take some getting round Navan. If you don't stay, then you will not be winning. My lad will gallop all the way to the line and will stick his neck out when the need is greatest.

I scored on Oscar Time at Fairyhouse and he's certainly not without hope in a handicap Chase.

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