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Bob Olinger bolsters Cheltenham Festival credentials at Punchestown

Sun 16 Jan 2022
 Bob Olinger and Blackmore after a polished success at Punchestown (Focusonracing)
Bob Olinger and Blackmore after a polished success at Punchestown (Focusonracing)

Bob Olinger struck for successive wins from two starts over fences with a cosy victory up in the class in the Grade Three Kildare Novice Chase at Punchestown.

A dual-Grade One winner over hurdles, the star seven-year-old had triumphed on his chasing bow at Gowran in November although his jumping was not faultless on that occasion.

However, he turned in a more assured round of fencing this time with Rachael Blackmore content to maintain a watching brief in the early stages as Lifetime Ambition and Capodanno set the early gallop.

With three fences down the back straight omitted due to the sun, it was a long run to the third-last with Bob Olinger clearly travelling well for Blackmore.

While the jockey had to start pushing on the 1-2 favourite turning in, Bob Olinger swiftly put this assignment to bed once he found top gear and cleared the last in fine style before coming home four and three-quarter lengths ahead of the game Capodanno. Gaillard Du Mesnil plugged on for third, beaten a further 27 lengths.

Click here to view the latest ante-post odds for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

Bob Olinger is now the evens favourite for the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham with both Coral and Paddy Power.

De Bromhead was delighted with Bob Olinger's performance and felt he had progressed from his Gowran victory.

He told Racing TV: "He was really good and Rachael was really happy with him. He jumped great and it was a class race.

"He'd come on a hell of a lot since Gowran and I think the experience he got there has really stood to him.

"The second is obviously a good horse and the pair of them have pulled clear. Thankfully our man kept going."

De Bromhead initially indicated he would look towards Leopardstown next month for Bob Olinger, if conditions allow.

He added: "The Dublin Racing Festival is the plan subject to ground. There would want to be a good ease in the ground.

"It seems our best option. It's three weeks and I think that's the plan at the moment.

"He's got a lot of class and a great attitude."

However, he later told Racing TV: "He was probably going there (Leopardstown) before today, now I don't know. We might need to think twice about it. We'll see how it unfolds.

"That's what we were doing, but the way he jumped there today, we'll see. Nothing is set in stone."

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