Right-handed track makes Captain Chris a big Punchestown player

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Some horses are just naturally better racing in a certain direction. Creevytennant’s desire to jump right was clearly obvious in the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival, while former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander has only ever won at left-handed tracks.

Although not as pronounced, Captain Chris seems to have a major preference for right-handed circuits and on this basis alone, he certainly warrants each-way consideration at worst at 8/1 for the Punchestown Gold Cup.

In his eight chase starts going right-handed, Captain Chris has only finished out of the first three once and this was when unseating Richard Johnson at the last fence of the 2011 Haldon Gold Cup, when looking like the winner at the time.

His run in the King George at Kempton this year was especially eye-catching when he probably should have secured victory, only to be caught on the line by a rallying Long Run.

Meanwhile, in his six chase starts on left-handed tracks, he has registered just the one victory, including no top-three outcome in any of his last three starts.

Further good news for Captain Chris ahead of the Punchestown Gold Cup is that he does have course form in the bag, winning the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase in 2011.

The only obvious negative to his chances would be if too much rain fell at Punchestown in the build up to the race, with trainer Philip Hobbs indicating that his nine-year-old would not want conditions too soft.

The 3m1f trip is already in the upper reaches of his stamina with 2m4f arguably his more ideal trip, while his best form has been on true good ground.

Hobbs and Johnson also have a history in the Punchestown Gold Cup, combining to secure a victory with Planet Of Sound in 2010.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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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.