Punchestown Festival: Henryville hot stuff in Champion Novice Chase
David Metcalf | April 25, 2016
Henryville has plenty going for him in Champion Novice Chase
Henryville has a progressive profile and looks the answer to the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival (18.40).
The Harry Fry trained eight-year-old has won two of his three starts over fences, and in the last of those scored in terrific style at Exeter.
Henryville jumped well and after making smooth headway from the rear to take up the running three from home cruised clear to win easing down by three lengths from Golden Doyen.
It was a most taking performance against a highly regarded rival, and the third home Thomas Crapper has since come out and won a competitive handicap at Newbury.
Light campaign a big plus
That gives the form a solid look, and Henryville is strong travelling sort who has a good turn of foot.
The son of Generous also has underfoot conditions so suit, and unlike the vast majority of his rivals comes into the race fresh after a light campaign.
That is a big plus, and with Noel Fehily in the saddle everything looks in place for a huge run.
Gigginstown duo big players
Outlander and Rule The World carry the famous purple and white colours of the Gigginstown House Stud and look big players on the pick of their form.
The former is trained by Willie Mullins and won his first three starts over fences in good style before falling in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Outlander showed he was none the worse for that tumble when sticking to the task well to finish a length runner-up to Kylemore Lough at Fairyhouse last month, and looks sure to go well providing this race doesn’t come too quickly after those exertions.
Rule The World hails from the yard of popular trainer Mouse Morris and got off the mark over fences in sensational fashion when landing the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
Prior to that nine-year-old had posted some solid efforts to make the frame in top class company, and he is the highest rated horse in the line-up.
However, the big fear has to be if this will come too soon for Rule The World following a gruelling run in the National.
Zabana feared most
For that reason I am keen to oppose Rule The World, and Zabana may emerge as the biggest threat to Henryville.
The Andrew Lynch trained seven-year-old has some useful form to his name over hurdles and looked a smart prospect when making a winning chase debut at Leopardstown back in December.
Zabana then found the soft ground against him when a well-beaten fourth to Outlander in a Grade 1 contest at the same venue, and whipped round and unseated jockey Davey Russell at the start in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham when last seen in action.
The gelding can be forgiven the latter as Russell was taking a turn when the starter decided to let them go, and with the ground fine Zabana looks capable of putting in a bold show.
Coral’s top tip: Henryville looks worth a wager to provide trainer Harry Fry with a second success at the Punchestown Festival. Zabana has had a light campaign and rates a big danger.