Cyclone heading for festival

Shark Hanlon is keeping his fingers crossed there is some ease in the ground at the Punchestown Festival later this month ahead of Hidden Cyclone’s intended appearance in the Champion Chase.

The nine-year-old has run some fantastic races in defeat since winning a minor event at Listowel back in September, placing in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, the Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown, the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and most recently chasing home Dynaste in the Ryanair Chase.

Boylesports make Hanlon’s stable star their 4-1 favourite to clinch a first Grade One victory on April 29 and the County Carlow-based trainer reports his charge to be in fine form.

He said: “Everything is good. We haven’t done a lot with him since Cheltenham, he’s had a fairly easy time, but he seems in good old form.

“Hopefully he’ll be running in Punchestown, as long as the ground isn’t too fast and I don’t think they’ll let that happen.”

Meanwhile the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup are the two options under consideration for Argocat following his excellent run in defeat at Aintree earlier this month.

A narrow winner of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park in February, Tom Taaffe’s six-year-old stepped up to Grade One level on Merseyside and justified his trainer’s confidence with a superb effort, finishing third behind Silviniaco Conti and Dynaste in the Betfred Bowl.

Taaffe said: “He came out of Aintree very well. I said beforehand we weren’t going over there for the fresh air and he ran a good race.

“Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”

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