Captain can take charge

CAPTAIN CHRIS is the nap choice to land the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown this evening.

He has been a model of consistency throughout the season, although held back somewhat by indifferent jumping at times.

Philip Hobbs’ charge, however got his act together big-time at the Cheltenham festival in March when landing the Arkle Trophy.

Over a trip, two miles, which was considered a little short of his best, Captain Chris exploded up the straight to beat Finian’s Rainbow by two and three quarter lengths.

He again tackles two miles now and the chances are that the astute Richard Johnson will make plenty of use of Captain Chris’ undoubted stamina.

Realt Dubh was six lengths further behind in the Arkle in third spot and appears safely held on that running.

Quevega, successful in the race last year, can do the business again in the World Series Hurdle.

She is a quite brilliant mare, who has been superbly trained and placed by the canny Willie Mullins over a number of seasons. He brought her to Cheltenham in March without the benefit of a previous outing and she toyed with the opposition on the way to scoring hard-held by ten lengths.

Mourad ran the race of his life at Cheltenham, third to Big Buck’s and Grands Crus, but was no match for Quevega here last year and has 9lbs to find on official ratings.

Mullins may have the answer to the Bumper as well with once-raced Vesper Bell, who beat Aupcharlie by a neck at Fairyhouse in February.

Aupcharlie won next time, then took third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, and the fourth at Fairyhouse, Just For Joe, also scored subsequently.

Garde Champetre, who failed by a length and a quarter to concede Sizing Australia 17lbs at Cheltenham, is hard to oppose in the Avon Ri Corporate And Leisure Resort La Touche Cup.

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