No More Heroes poised to gain compensation

No More Heroes can gain compensation for his near-miss in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham by landing this afternoon’s three-mile Grade 1 Novice Hurdle on day two of the Punchestown Festival.

His victories to date have all come on ground with some ease in it, but the son of Presenting should have no issues with today’s underfoot conditions, and his confirmed stamina can see him home in front of favourite Shaneshill.

He was somewhat unlucky in running at Cheltenham, where he was short of room when looking to challenge approaching the last. Two runs prior to that, he had the measure of Shaneshill in the Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle and, while the last-named has improved since, No More Heroes can confirm the form over this longer trip.

Shaneshill ran his heart out to take second place behind Douvan in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and went one place better when running away with a Grade 2, over two and a half miles, at Fairyhouse last time. Today’s three-mile trip is a step into the unknown, which tempers enthusiasm for the six-year-old, who won the Champion Bumper at this meeting last year. If significant rain were to get into the ground, stable companion Killultagh Vic would become more interesting.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead has very strong claims with two runners, Identity Thief and Sadler’s Risk, in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle, but the greater scope for improvement swings the verdict in favour of the first-named.

Last time out, in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse, the selection proved no match for Sempre Medici, but it was a step back in the right direction following his under-par effort behind Nichols Canyon at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

The son of Kayf Tara won his bumper at Fairyhouse in November and made a winning start over hurdles in a maiden at Leopardstown a month later, beating Snow Falcon, who wasn’t beaten far behind Windsor Park in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

It’s reasonable to assume there will be more to come from the five-year-old, and he can take this at the expense of stable companion Sadler’s Risk.

The Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup is today’s feature and, with questions regarding most of the runners, it’s a real puzzle for punters.

Djakadam has undeniable claims following his runner-up finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the six-year-old had a very hard race that day and would prefer more cut in the ground.

Road To Riches has had a brilliant season and there’s little between him and Djakadam on Cheltenham form. He’s somewhat more exposed than that rival, but may be more at home on this ground.

Don Cossack was superb at Aintree, but there will be much greater demand on his stamina this time. He’s officially top rated in the race and how he copes with the distance, at this level, will reveal plenty about his Gold Cup credentials for next year. The British challengers have something to find on recent form and, in a tight heat, marginal preference is for Djakadam.

In the Champion Bumper, Supasundae gets the nod. Trained by Henry de Bromhead, he travelled well, if a little too keenly, in the Cheltenham equivalent and was unable to quicken on the final climb up the hill. Prior to that, on the less-demanding Ascot circuit, he was most impressive, and a display of that quality should ensure he goes very close today.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox