Noland can win battle with War

NOLAND gets the nap to beat War Of Attrition in the re-scheduled John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown this afternoon.

Winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2006, Noland always promised to be a high-class horse over fences.

He didn't get anywhere near to fulfilling his potential last season, however, but had problems, which now seem to have been ironed out.

That was certainly the conclusion to be drawn, following his return to action at Down Royal last month.

Noland produced a fine display of jumping and staying power to slam the more than useful Finger Onthe Pulse by 12 lengths.

You can pick holes in the form, of course, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which the selection powered clear in the closing stages.

Against the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, War Of Attrition, a lot more is going to be required now.

War Of Attrition returned of late from long-term injury to enjoy bloodless successes at Punchestown and Thurles and, considering he is only rising ten, could still have a huge amount to offer.

He has, though, always been vulnerable in top races on heavy ground and is reluctantly passed over.

The Last Derby, whose form in bumpers was no more than adequate, made an excellent start over flights at Fairyhouse and is fancied to follow up in the INH Stallion Owners' EBF Novice Hurdle.

Eoin Griffin's four-year-old emerged from the fog ten days ago to beat Zarinava by three and a half lengths and could have the edge on Jaffonnien, who caught the eye, despite only managing a remote sixth of seven behind Academy Sir Harry in a Grade 3 at Navan.

Willie Mullins' Persian City could be the answer to the opening Oyster Group Maiden Hurdle.

Grabbed on the run in and beaten a length by Oligarch Society at Gowran Park, Persian City was in front soon after the second last and may have his challenge delayed a little bit longer on this occasion!

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