Punchestown date for Sublimity

NEW champion hurdler Sublimity is to be aimed at the Punchestown Champion Hurdle on April 27, trainer John Carr has revealed.

There had been suggestions the seven-year-old could be put away for the remainder of the National Hunt season to be prepared for a crack at the totesport Ebor at York on the level, but for the moment those plans are on the back-burner.

“He started back cantering on Monday and he’s been out second lot this morning,” Carr said.

“He’ll be entered for Punchestown and we’ll see how we go from there. Obviously we will have to get ground similar to Cheltenham or he won’t be running.

“It’s not that he won’t go on better ground, it’s just that all his good runs have been when there has been a good bit of cut.

“The ground at Cheltenham was ideal for him, but on the day I don’t think it would have mattered what the ground was like as he won that well.

“As regards the races we mentioned last week on the Flat – there is still a thought in our minds, but at the moment he will be trained for Punchestown over the next few weeks.

“Somebody wrote the other day that he is not a true champion as he won’t get that ground ever again at Cheltenham, but how do they know what the weather is going to be like next year?

“Hardy Eustace and Iktitaf will be at Punchestown, I’m not sure about Brave Inca, but I can’t see much else going and if he wins again there will be no questions about him.”

Meanwhile, an assault on the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National is the favoured option for Distant Thunder, provided he gets suitable underfoot conditions.

His trainer, the Lambourn-based Ulsterman Noel Chance, regularly sends his horses back across the Irish Sea if they are good enough.

And Distant Thunder could be another candidate, having produced a blinding performance on only his second outing of the campaign having moved to Chance from Robert Alner this year.

He was only just denied by Joes Edge and Juveigneur in a thriller for the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham last time out and the Fairyhouse marathon on Easter Monday is currently top of the list ahead of the Betfred Gold Cup at Sandown.

“Plan A is the Irish National, unless the ground came up funny, he needs it good or softer” explained Chance.

“His weight is OK there (10st 9lb), given we went up 10lb for the race at Cheltenham.

“Plan B would be Liverpool and a three-mile handicap chase there, then there would be the Whitbread (Betfred), but the ground could be dodgy there.

“He ran so well at Cheltenham, especially as a horse fell in front of him at the second-last.

“He had a couple of problems after his first run at Bangor and it was a great effort for only his second start of the season. He got a little tired and had just been in front too long.”

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