Jessica Harrington holds key to cross-country cracker with Neverushacon

12.30 Punchestown
Ballymore Group Risk Of Thunder Chase | 3m | 5yo+ | RTV

It says everything about Jessica Harrington's brilliance as a trainer that, a couple of months on from mopping up major Group races on the Flat, she holds the key to Tuesday's Risk Of Thunder Chase, as unique a test as there is for a jumps horse.

Harrington supplies likely favourite Neverushacon, who was second in this race 12 months ago before landing the PP Hogan over this course in February, and chances are he will take plenty of beating on his return under Paddy Kennedy.

Peter Maher's year revolves around the Punchestown festival, more precisely the banks races that are staged there throughout the week, and nobody was hit harder when the festival fell foul of the coronavirus pandemic.

The cross-country specialist has a four-strong team here - Ballyboker Bridge, Blast Of Koeman, Hurricane Darwin and The Irregular - but his horses usually need a run.

The banks king Enda Bolger runs old favourite Josies Orders along with two newcomers to this discipline, Plinth and Stamp Your Feet, while Noel Meade has a shot with Major Destination.

However, joint-topweight Neverushacon sets a decent standard and will be difficult to stop on all known form.

What they say

Kate Harrington, assistant to Jessica Harrington, trainer of Neverushacon
He’s in very good form. He's been away to the Curragh a few times and has had a school over the banks at the weekend as well. Hopefully he can run a good race. 

Enda Bolger, trainer of Plinth, Stamp Your Feet and Josies Orders
Plinth and Stamp Your Feet are new to the game but everything has gone satisfactorily with them at home. Josies Orders is not getting any younger but hopefully he'll give young Tom Kelly a nice spin around. 

Martin Brassil, trainer of Artic Pearl
We've had a lot of fun with him, although maybe he's a bit unlucky not to have won more than he has. We thought a change of direction might bring out a bit more in him. He has taken to it well. Peter Maher took him for a few weeks and did a good bit of schooling with him, so hopefully that'll stand to him. 

Peter Maher, trainer of Ballyboker Bridge, Blast Of Koeman, Hurricane Darwin and The Irregular
I’d be expecting Ballyboker Bridge to hit the frame but he’s usually at his best in the spring, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes on for the run. Blast Of Koeman is an interesting performer and he should go very well if he takes to this. Hurricane Darwin is the fittest of mine and, while he prefers better ground, he should run well. The Irregular is up against it.