18.40 Punchestown: King Vuvuzela ready to call the tune
King Vuvuzela has an excellent record at Punchestown and looks worth siding with to further enhance it in this ultra-competitive 15-runner handicap chase.
The gelding has registered all three of his career successes at the track, with two of those coming over this afternoon’s 2m 4f trip.
Trained by Paul Nolan, the seven-year-old acts on all type of going and scored with more in hand than the winning margin of 2 3/4 lengths suggest when registering his last success at Laopardstown three starts back off a mark of 116.
The son of Flemensfirth went on to finish an excellent fourth of 21 to He’llberemebred at the same venue off 126 and gets into this off just 1lb higher.
That gives King Vuvuzela every chance at the weights, and although well beaten last time out at the Cheltenham Festival the return to this venue is likely to see him in a far better light.
There are plenty of dangers, and two of the more interesting are Gift Of Dgab and Grandioso.
The former is trained by the ultra-shrewd Tony Martin and switches back to the larger obstacles having come back to form when third to Art Of Payroll over hurdles at Leopardstown when last seen in action.
The 10-year-old doesn’t look weighted out of this on the pick of his form, and now steps back up in trip, has the tongue-tie refitted and the services of the in-form Barry Geraghty in the saddle for ths first time.
Grandioso is the sole British raider in the line-up and looks well-treated off a mark of 145 on a track which will suit.
Paul Nicholls’ gelding was a progressive sort last season when winning three of his four starts over fences, with the last of those wins came in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton where he stayed on strongly to beat Molotof by a length off an official reating of 142.
The seven-year-old was then taken very ill and nearly died of colic in the spring before running a stormer a to finish a third of 11 to Cantlow at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance off today’s mark.
That is strong form in the context of this contest, and all Grandioso’s best form has come going right handed.
This track should be ideal, and with Harry Derham in the saddle taking 3lb off Grandioso’s back everything looks in place for a big run.