CONNECTIONS of Finian’s Oscar are confident he will have no problem getting the trip in the Growise Champion Novice Chase on day one of the Punchestown festival.
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.
“Good ground will help him and three miles looks right up his street as well.
“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.
Meanwhile Warren Greatrex feels Missed Approach will be suited by the demands of Sandown when he runs in the season-ending bet365 Gold Cup on Saturday.
The eight-year-old is prominent in the betting for the big Grade Three handicap chase after he won the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
Possible rivals include Blaklion who was a first fence casualty in the Grand National for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies.
“He’s done really well and came out of the race great,” said Greatrex. “I just feel the jumping that you need to produce at Sandown will suit him.
“Everyone’s gone to Ayr, Punchestown or Aintree, and I just felt it was worth waiting. The Grand National will be the plan next year, all being well.”
Veracious, who was due to be the mount of Frankie Dettori, has been ruled out of the Qipco 1000 Guineas due to a “training setback”.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained daughter of Frankel was an impressive winner of a Newmarket maiden last October and had impressed Dettori in a gallop before racing at last week’s Craven meeting.
Chris Richardson, managing director of owner Cheveley Park Stud, confirmed Veracious is lame and expects her to undergo further tests in the coming days
He said: “I spoke to Sir Michael Stoute and I don’t know exactly what it is, but she is not 100 per cent right.
“She is lame in behind and I think they are going to do some more tests and examinations to try to establish what it is.
“Frankie Dettori was very happy with her gallop on Wednesday and it looked good. We are all very disappointed.”
Middleham trainer Mark Johnson’s Dee Ex Bee has been declared for tomorrow’s Derby trial at Epsom.