Fortria return possible for Joncol

LAST season’s Irish Hennessy Gold Cup hero Joncol could kick off his campaign in the Fortria Chase at Navan over two miles.

The imposing seven-year-old came of age last term, also winning the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown, another race which is on his agenda in the first half of the campaign.

However, as ever, trainer Paul Nolan would like to see some rain before Joncol is due to run, with the ground in Ireland unseasonably fast for this time of year.

“We want the rain with Joncol,” said Nolan.

“We’re looking at the Fortria at Navan (November 7) to start him off over two miles and hopefully that will lead us to the John Durkan at Punchestown over two-and-a-half a month later.

“He ran very well at Naas first time out last season over two miles against Tranquil Sea. He’s not short of pace.

“We’d like to start out over the shorter trip and then the John Durkan over two-and-a-half will lead to the Lexus then over Christmas.

“After that the races pick themselves.”

Meanwhile Shinrock Paddy and Noble Prince are unlikely to start their seasons off at Thurles on Thursday.

The Nolan-trained pair are entered in the Cat Busters Hurdle and the Welcome Home Liam McCarthy Beginners Chase respectively, but the ground is currently too firm for the pair of the them.

Grade One-winning hurdler Shinrock Paddy was last seen pulling up at the Cheltenham Festival while Noble Prince was fourth to Quevega at Punchestown.

“The ground looks like it is going to be too good so more than likely we’ll have to delay it a little bit longer, we need rain now,” said Nolan.

“Noble Prince doesn’t want it that soft, but just for his first run of the season I’d prefer it yielding at least.”

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