18:40 Punchestown – Rain the only thing that can stop Captain Chris

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The weather forecast of rain appears the only thing that can stop Captain Chris claiming victory in the Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival.

Captain Chris heads to Punchestown after landing the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and has seen this formed franked since with runner-up Finian’s Rainbow securing a victory at Aintree.

This success makes Captain Chris a worthy favourite in the Punchestown odds at 4/5 and nine of the last 14 winners of the Novice Chase had previously run in the Arkle in the same season.

Meanwhile, the fact that he is such a short price should not put punters off, as 15 of the last 16 winners have gone off at a starting price of 6/1 or less.

British-trained horses also have a fine record in the Novice Chase with four of the last seven challengers sent to Ireland for the Grade One contest tasting victory.

These all bode well for trainer Phillip Hobbs and he is confident of the horse’s chances, particularly if the possible rain stays away.

Hobbs said: “He travelled over very well and I hope he has a very good chance, but I just hope the rain that they have forecast doesn’t arrive. That would be the thing that would be against him.”

Realt Dubh chased home Captain Chris in third in the Arkle and looks likely to be one of his chief rivals again.

Since Cheltenham, Realt Dubh has claimed a third Grade One success this season with a recent victory at Fairyhouse and this standard of form makes him a tempting betting proposition at 9/4.

However, he was beaten by close to nine lengths by Captain Chris at Cheltenham and it is hard to see him reversing this form given that he is no better off in the weights.

A £30 stake on Saludos winning the Ryanair Novice Chase would return £600. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.