Joncol plans on hold

ALL plans for Joncol are on hold until Paul Nolan’s smart chaser recovers from a serious digestive problem.

It will be at least a week before Nolan and his team will know how well the eight-year-old has responded to treatment.

“He’s had trouble with his digestive system and he’s having treatment this week so we’ll know in about a week’s time how well he comes out of it,” said Nolan.

“We’ll see how he responds and go from there. He’s got a colic problem, he’s been on antibiotics and hopefully we can reverse it.”

Nolan is looking forward to running Noble Prince in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old has made a highly promising start to his fencing career, making a successful debut at Punchestown in October and finishing second behind Realt Dubh in two Grade One contests at Leopardstown this winter.

“Noble Prince will go for the Jewson, hopefully. He’s in good form and hopefully he can go to Cheltenham with a big chance,” said the Co Wexford handler.

Westmeath bids to book his Cheltenham ticket when he lines up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The six-year-old pleased Nolan when second of 21 behind the Willie Mullins-trained Raptor over two and a half miles at Punchestown on only his second start over jumps three weeks ago.

“We were delighted with his second run of the season in Punchestown,” Nolan continued.

“He ran well there and he’ll now run in Leopardstown on Sunday. We’ll see how he comes out of that and then we will make a decision on whether he goes for the Albert Bartlett.

“If he runs very well at Leopardstown I’d say he’ll go to Cheltenham.”

* STAR NEUVILLE is set to be John “Shark” Hanlon’s only runner at the Cheltenham Festival when he lines-up for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

The five-year-old got off the mark at Leopardstown’s big Christmas meeting and has delighted the County Carlow trainer since that promising success.

“I think the world of this horse and he’s improved loads since he won at Leopardstown,” said Hanlon.

Star Neuville is owned by Barry Connell, who has another fine prospect in Mart Lane, who made a winning debut in a Leopardstown bumper last week.

“He’s doing super. He’ll either go to Aintree or his owner Barry Connell’s own bumper at the Curragh in the first week of April. We haven’t decided yet,” Hanlon went on.

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