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Nacarat lined up for Punchestown bid

Last week's Aintree Totesport Bowl winner Nacarat is likely to bid for further big-race glory at the Punchestown Festival next month.

Former Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Kauto Star and Imperial Commander are two star names already pencilled in for the race on May 4, and Gloucestershire trainer Tom George yesterday declared that his front-running grey is also an intended runner in the Grade One.

Entries for the race, which has gone for export three times in the past four years, will be revealed this afternoon.

“He has come out of (Aintree) unbelievably well,” George said of Nacarat.

“We are considering the Guinness Gold Cup. It's a Grade One race with prize money to match, and it could be that he is one step better going right-handed on better ground.

“We would not run him on soft, but if it were good or good to soft and if he is in good form, we would have to think very seriously about going over there.

“There is no point in waiting until next December to find that we have heavy ground when this could be a chance on good ground.”

Paul Nicholls confirmed yesterday that Kauto Star, third to Long Run in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup, will travel to Punchestown.

“He will definitely go,” Nicholls revealed. “I think the race will suit him and he seems well in himself at present.”

Noble Prince, Paul Nolan's Jewson Novice Chase hero at Cheltenham, is another that could turn out at Punchestown, though the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday is an alternative for him.

The latter Grade One is over Noble Prince's preferred two-and-a-half miles, with the corresponding events at Punchestown, the Ryanair and Growise Champion Chases, run over two and three miles, respectively.

Belfast Telegraph

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