Bob Olinger equalizes for more Cheltenham glory after brilliant third year success | Horse racing news

Patrick McCann

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Bob Olinger: jumped very well on his second chase start

Patrick McCann

Bob Olinger, one of the most exciting jumping horses in training, took his unbeaten record over the fences to two with an impressive win over Capodanno in the Grade 3 Kildare Novice Chase at Punchestown.

Last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner was a little sticky at a fence or two on his hunting debut at Gowran Park, but there was nothing to complain about on this occasion as he reunited with Rachael Blackmore.

The only disappointment was that the three fences in the backstretch were omitted due to the sun, but that couldn’t upset Bob Olinger, who set up beautifully for Blackmore at the start as Lifetime Ambition and Capodanno took cut off the start of the race.

The race came alive on the penultimate when Capodanno, much loved by trainer Willie Mullins, took an absolute lead and extended to the penultimate. Blackmore was aware of the move and sent Bob Olinger running after the leader.

A good jump to penultimate put Bob Olinger alongside the leader and he again showed off the extra gear that propelled him to Cheltenham Festival success in March until the last.

He was more clever than spectacular on the final close before heading home four lengths and three quarters ahead of second, a whopping 27 lengths behind Grade 1 winner Gaillard Du Mesnil in third.

2.20 Punchestown result and replay

The winner is now the tied favorite (6-4) for the 2m4f Turners Novices’ Chase (formerly the Marsh and the JLT) at the Cheltenham Festival, which would seem the logical race for Bob Olinger in March, although the winning trainer Henry of Bromhead suggested he would also gain entry into the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on 3m.

“There was a lot of stomach upset there but I was thrilled with his jumps and really happy to see how happy Rachael was with him as well,” the coach said. “He just seems to have another gear again and he was good.

“He jumped well at Gowran. You could say he didn’t take it like a duck to water, but we did a lot of schooling – a lot more than we usually would with him – and he Rachael did a fantastic job with him at home and the other day after school we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ ‘get away from Gowran.’

Bob Olinger holds an entry into the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase at Leopardstown on February 6, but De Bromhead will be biding his time before making a firm decision whether or not to run.

“He was probably going there before today, but now you might have to think twice,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes and we’d like a good ease in the ground if he were to leave. It’s three weeks and then another five weeks or so. [to Cheltenham]. That’s what we were doing but how he jumped there today, we’ll see. Nothing is set in stone.”

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