Six appeals in Bobby dazzler

MARTIN BRASSIL hopes Numbersixvalverde can pick up where he left off at Aintree last April when he makes his long-awaited return to fences at Fairyhouse today.

Brassil’s 11-year-old was last seen tackling the bigger obstacles in the John Smith’s Grand National, when he trounced his rivals en route to a famous success.

Although Numbersixvalverde has twice featured over timber this season, his build-up for a second crack at the world’s biggest steeplechase moves up several gears in the Grade Two At The Races Bobbyjo Chase.

Brassil expressed his satisfaction with his star chaser and hinted he could also have another run after the Bobbyjo before heading to Aintree.

“It’s important to get a run over fences with him and I’m really happy with him,” revealed the County Kildare handler.

“It looks a very good race but my fellow is in good form and we’ve stuck to the same routine with him this week as we have always done.

“The ground and course will be fine and things have gone OK since Punchestown (his last run over hurdles).

“I’ve not decided whether he will go straight to Aintree or have another run first – we shall get Saturday out of the way first.”

Numbersixvalverde is likely to face stiff competition from last season’s Irish Grand National winner Point Barrow, who looked the real deal landing the Pierse Leopardstown Handicap Chase in January.

The nine-year-old faces a tougher task than he would in a handicap, however, according to his trainer Pat Hughes.

“At the ratings he’s not so well in. Watson Lake and Numbersixvalverde are better in with us than if it were a handicap,” he said.

“I thought Watson Lake might not run. He does, so there you go.”

Hughes is hoping Point Barrow can emulate Numbersixvalverde by following up victory in the Irish National by winning the Aintree equivalent on April 14.

“Irish National winners have a good recent record at Aintree – let’s hope the trend continues. Even Papillon who was second here went on to win the Grand National,” he remarked.

“We’ve done plenty with him since he won at Leopardstown. He’s in good order.

“I’ll give him another run before the Grand National towards the end of March to keep him ticking over.

“There’s a race at Down Royal on the 17th and a two-mile-six hurdle race a week later at Navan which he ran in last year. It will be one or the other.”

Willie Mullins will be double-handed with Homer Wells, who claimed the Thyestes Handicap Chase on his last start, and Joueur D’Estruval.

Watson Lake returned to form when emerging a five-length winner of the Red Mills Chase last weekend and makes a quick reappearance for Noel Meade.

Edward Mitchell’s Garvivonnian and the Ted Walsh-trained Jack High complete the line-up.

At The Races Bobbyjo Chase, Cashmans bet: 5-2 Numbersixvalverde, 7-2 Point Barrow, 4-1 Watson Lake, 5-1 Homer Wells, 6-1 Joueur D’Estruval, 7-1 Jack High, 16-1 Garvivonnian.

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