Captain Chris: won the Ryanair Novice Chase at the festival last yearPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Chris team eye Gold Cup glory at Punchestown
CAPTAIN CHRIS, one of two winners for Philip Hobbs at the meeting a year ago, will again be on Punchestown duty next week when he runs in Thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup over 3m 1f on Wednesday.
Successful in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase over 2m at the festival last year, Captain Chris has tackled longer distances this season, finishing third behind Kauto Star in the William Hill King George V1 Chase and fourth in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on his most recent start last month.
Hobbs, who won the Punchestown Gold Cup with Planet Of Sound two years ago, has sent out nine winners, including four at Grade 1 level, at the Punchestown festival and will again be well-represented at the five-day meeting.
Captain Chris trainer Philip HobbsPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
He said: "Captain Chris is a definite runner on Wednesday while Menorah [winner of the Betfred Manifesto Novices Chase at Aintree last week] is going for the Ryanair Novice Chase on Thursday.
"Sadler's Risk is likely to run in the AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle on Saturday while Pateese, who won at Cheltenham this week, might run in the Setantabet.com Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f on the same day."
According to Hobbs, Colour Squadron is a possible for the 2m4f Grade 1 Cathal Ryan Memorial Novice Hurdle on Friday, while Village Vic is being aimed at the winners' bumper on Thursday.
However, Wishful Thinking, successful at the meeting a year ago and as short as 6-1 for Tuesday's Grade 1 Boylesports.com Champion Chase is not certain to line up.
"Wishfull Thinking has the option of the Celebration Chase at Sandown next weekend and that might be more likely, " Hobbs said.