Team Tizzard back Finian’s Oscar to go the distance at Punchestown

Aintree winner aiming to follow up in Ireland

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Connections of Finian’s Oscar are confident he will have no problem getting the trip in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown on Tuesday.

The Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old will race over an extended three miles for the first time over fences as he bids to back up his top-level success at Aintree a fortnight ago.

Joe Tizzard, the Dorset handler’s son and assistant, said: “His jumping got caught out racing down the back at Aintree but he got there in the end.

“We are expecting a big run from him. He is a horse that has still got a lot to more to come.”

Henry de Bromhead hopes Monalee can go one better back on home soil, having found only Presenting Percy too strong at the Cheltenham Festival.

He said: “He seems really well and hopefully he will give another good account of himself.

“He has won over this sort of trip a couple of times and it looked to me like he stayed it in the RSA.”

Willie Mullins will be triple-handed with Al Boum Photo, Invitation Only and Rathvinden in his attempt to win the race for a fourth time.

Patrick Mullins, the trainer’s son and assistant, said: “Al Boum Photo was very tough in Fairyhouse and I don’t see the step up to three miles being a problem for him.

“We don’t know how Invitation Only would have done at Cheltenham as his race was ended at the fourth-last. He finished behind Al Boum Photo at Fairyhouse but over a different trip so that might see him in a better light.

“Rathvinden was very tough at Cheltenham. He gave his all but he’s recovered well since and his rating gives him a good chance of being in the first three.”

Mullins jnr expects Getabird, one of four runners for the Closutton handler in the Herald Champion Novices’ Hurdle alongside Sharjah, Draconien and Whiskey Sour, to be hard to beat in the Grade One event.

He said: “I think at Cheltenham the atmosphere just got to Getabird. He did appear to jump a little to his right but he is very good right-handed.

“When I rode him before Cheltenham he beat Mengli Khan and I’d expect him to do so again.

“Draconien ran very well behind Getabird at Fairyhouse. I won on him before Christmas on very heavy ground and he felt to me like he’d be better when he got good ground.

“Whiskey Sour is a Grade One winner already and he ran a fantastic race in the County Hurdle. You can imagine he’d be involved at the very end again as he’s won at the Galway Festival, so good ground isn’t going to bother him.

“Sharjah, who I ride, runs in a first-time tongue-strap. He was running very well at Christmas on decent ground before he fell but he hasn’t run on that ground since so I think a combination of that and a tongue-tie should help him show his best form.”

Vision Des Flos appeared to appreciate the drop back to two miles at Aintree and another big run is expected from the Tizzard-trained five-year-old.

Tizzard jnr said: “He came back from Aintree in really good form and was jumping out of his skin so we decided to have another go.

“It might have taken its toll at Aintree but we won’t know until we get there.

“He ran very well at Cheltenham but he didn’t quite get home. He travelled really well and the drop back to two miles helped him finish second at Aintree. He is a fair horse.”

Team Tizzard back Finian’s Oscar to go the distance at Punchestown

Punchestown 18:40, 24 April 2018

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