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Punchestown

  • 14:05 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase 2m 4f

  • (Grade 1) €80,001 added 5yo+ 7 ran
  • Winner €52,000 2nd €15,199 3rd €7,200 4th €2,400
  • Going: Soft to Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 27.30s
  • Off time: 14:05:22

Rubi can light up Durkan

View from connections: John Durkan Memorial Chase

Last Updated: 09/12/11 2:12pm

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Rubi Light: In flying form ahead of Sunday's big race

Rubi Light: In flying form ahead of Sunday's big race

Robbie Hennessy has Rubi Light in flying form as he bids to get his season back on track after a stuttering start to the campaign in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on Sunday.

The six-year-old rounded off a fruitful last campaign with an excellent third in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and hopes were high that the French import could make his mark at the highest level this time around.

He was in the process of making an impressive seasonal return at Gowran Park in October when falling at the last, allowing Sizing Europe to come through and claim an unlikely victory.

Rubi Light has since missed intended engagements at Down Royal and in the Betfair Chase at Haydock with a viral infection, but recent home-work has left Hennessy brimming with confidence.

Back On Track

"The horse is back in great form now and we're looking forward to seeing him back on track," said the County Meath handler.

"We've had a bit of a rough start to the season. He picked up the viral infection before Down Royal and it took a bit longer for him to get over it than normal.

"His work just wasn't as good as it can be for a while. We thought about Haydock, but he was only 90% and obviously you can't be taking on those sorts of horses unless you're at the top of his game.

"We've given him time to come right and his last couple of bits of work have been absolutely brilliant.

"He had a little spin (on Friday morning) and schooled over four fences and everything went great.

"Everything will suit him on Sunday - the track, the trip and the ground will be ideal.

"The Gowran form looks good with Sizing Europe coming out and winning the Tingle Creek.

"People will say it was his first run of the season, but it was our first run of the season as well.

"We'll just take it one step at a time but if all went well this weekend, we'd probably look at the Lexus Chase a Leopardstown over Christmas."
Tougher Task

Joncol won the race in 2009 but trainer Paul Nolan believes he faces a much tougher task this time.

Although the eight-year-old beat the Willie Mullins-trained Cooldine by 12 lengths on his seasonal debut, despite giving away 10lb, Nolan would certainly not discount that rival in what he believes is a highly-competitive affair.

He said: "We're very happy with our fellow, things couldn't have gone better with him and there'll be no excuses on Sunday.

"We beat Cooldine a nice distance last time, giving him 10lb, but Willie's horses are running so well at the moment and maybe there could be a bit more improvement in Cooldine than us.

"Willie is firing them in and if Cooldine were to come back to his RSA Chase form, he'd be a major rival.

"It looks a better race than the one we won two years ago with the likes of Tranquil Sea and Rubi Light in there and he seems to have the form in the book.

"He (Rubi Light) looked like he might have Sizing Europe beat last time and has just had a couple of problems since, but he merits serious respect - as does Tranquil Sea, who you shouldn't forget is a dual Grade One winner.

"If all goes well on Sunday, though, we would be looking towards the Lexus at Christmas, although it maybe comes a week early.

"With Denman being retired, that opens the race up a bit."

Tranquil Barry

Barry Geraghty rode Joncol last time but he has decided to stick with Tranquil Sea here after the pair claimed the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase last time.

Tranquil Sea won the rescheduled John Durkan at Fairyhouse last year and trainer Edward O'Grady is hoping for a repeat back at Punchestown.

"We thought he might need the race but he handled it very well. Barry enjoyed riding him," he said.

"He's in excellent form for Sunday. Whether that's good enough I don't know, but I think he'll like the trip, the track and the ground."

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