Bob Olinger sets out to find a Festival double in Punchestown | Race News

Bob Olinger is the star attraction in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase as Henry of Bromhead pushes his unbeaten chaser up to three miles for the first time at the Punchestown Festival.

Heading into the Cheltenham Festival with a perfect record over the biggest hurdles, the seven-year-old looked set for defeat as Galopin Des Champs left Sholokhov’s son trailing in his wake in the closing stages of the Turners Novices ‘Chase.

However, disaster struck at the final fence for the 5-6 favorite and allowed Bob Olinger to regroup and gallop home for an undisputed victory by 40 lengths in the freshman test.

Race jockey Rachael Blackmore and trainer were unhappy with the Prestbury Park gelding, which looked like a shadow of the horse that had landed the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 12 months before. He underwent extensive scrutiny afterwards and having recovered from the issues highlighted in this MOT, De Bromhead says he has always intended to go on the trip at this stage of the season.

“I think it’s a logical progression to go three miles with Bob,” said De Bromhead. “He looks really good again. Obviously it was great to win but he was disappointing at Cheltenham in terms of the level of performance, but it looks good now and we’re happy with him. We’ll see where we go after we find out more Tuesday.

“He was definitely not well at Cheltenham. Definitely. He had this torn muscle. It wasn’t serious but it was definitely torn and it’s probably related. Rachael said he made a terrible noise after having skipped the sixth-last, where he twisted in the air, so it definitely didn’t look like him.

“We were still going to be in the three-mile race at Punchestown and as we’re happy with him now that the muscle tear has cleared up, it’s all gone.”

The three-mile pursuit is one of three freshman races on the opening day of the Punchestown festival and was won last year by Willie Mullins. The Closutton manager is represented this time by Capodanno, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, while Gigginstown House Stud won it with Delta Work and Sir Des Champs in the past and builds on Fury Road. and Beacon Edge.

There is British interest in the race in the form of Millers Bank. The eight-year-old Alex Hales built on a second in the Pendil Novices’ Chase when he beat a 10-length Manifesto Novices’ Chase winner over two and a half miles at Aintree last time out and his handler hope for another great performance in this enterprising raid mission.

“Aintree has been brilliant and we felt we didn’t have much to lose coming here,” said Hales.

“I always imagined that three miles would be his best trip, he turns off well, so I don’t see that as a problem. The only slight concern in my mind is that his best form has been on flat tracks, but to be honest, that’s all he’s ever raced.

“It’s taken 20 years to find a horse like him, so we’re going to make the most of it and enjoy having our first rider here (Punchestown). The horse has settled in well, he’s eating well and we’re happy to ‘where we are.”

The seven-man field is completed by Lifetime Ambition, Jessica Harrington’s Limerick scorer, and mare Ballyshannon Rose.

Sky Sports

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