Elliott looking to Delta to deliver on day one at Punchestown

Cheltenham third bids for redemption in novice chase feature

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Gordon Elliott is hopeful Delta Work can get back on the winning trail in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old has been the star performer in Ireland’s staying novice division this season – winning his first three starts over fences including successive Grade One wins at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown.

He could only finish third when a hot favourite to claim his second Cheltenham Festival success in the RSA Chase, but even a reproduction of that run will make him hard to beat on Tuesday.

Elliott said: “It was always the plan to come back to Punchestown with Delta Work after he ran at Cheltenham.

“He ran well at the Punchestown Festival as a novice hurdler last year, so we know he likes the track.

“The ground should be ideal for him and I’m hoping the can end his season on a high.”

Delta Work’s chief rivals are Henry de Bromhead’s Cheltenham handicap winner A Plus Tard and the Willie Mullins-trained Getabird, who has been off the track since suffering a narrow defeat at Limerick over the Christmas period, but is a three-time winner at Punchestown.

Mullins’ assistant, David Casey, said: “Getabird is in good form. We missed Cheltenham and Aintree with him as he’s definitely more comfortable going right-handed.

“He was unlucky not to win in Limerick over Christmas after making a bad mistake at the last.

“This looks a tough race, but he likes the track and I think the step up to three miles will be a huge help to him.

“It’s a very good race, but hopefully he’ll be competitive.”

De Bromhead also saddles Chris’s Dream, while Terence O’Brien runs Arkle Trophy third Articulum.

British hopes rest on the Rebecca Curtis-trained Drovers Lane, while Paul Nolan’s Discorama and Aidan Howard’s Winter Escape make up the field.

The latter is making a swift reappearance after finishing a well-beaten third in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse just over a week ago.

Frank Berry, racing manager to Winter Escape’s owner JP McManus, said: “We were a bit disappointed with him in the Ryanair Gold Cup, but maybe the ground was quicker than he liked.

“He has plenty to do on Tuesday as it also looks a cracking race, but hopefully he can run well.”

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