DARYL JACOB is delighted to have the opportunity to partner unbeaten chaser Footpad in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
The six-year-old has won each of his four starts over fences including a hat-trick of Grade 1 victories.
With Willie Mullins’ number one rider Ruby Walsh, who usually partners Footpad, sidelined by injury, Jacob has been called upon for the first time since steering him to his an easy win on his chasing debut.
Jacob, who is the retained rider for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: “With Ruby not being available I get the chance to sit on him again and obviously I’m looking forward to it.
“I rode him at the start of the year, so lets hope he rounds off the season in good style.
“He’s very good, he’s a very talented horse, he’s a good jumper and a good traveller.
“He’s uncomplicated and I think he could go all the way to the top.”
Footpad will be a long odds-on favourite to see off six rivals, with title-chasing Mullins also fielding outsiders Saturnas and Asthuria.
Eamonn Hames’ top tips for Punchestown
3.40 Punchestown – Lyreen Lad: ‘Sneaked in at the bottom of weights and that could be a tip in itself’ (add to your betslip)
4.20 Punchestown – Not Many Left: ‘Still unexposed and can bounce back’ (add to your betslip)
4.55 Punchestown – Next Destination: ‘Will relish this trip and should show big improvement here’ (add to your betslip)
5.30 Punchestown – Killultagh Vic: ‘There’s no doubting he has the talent to take this’ (add to your betslip)
6.05 Punchestown – Young Ted: ‘Certainly looked the part when bolting up at Thurles’ (add to your betslip)
6.40 Punchestown – Oscar Knight: ‘He will get his optimum race conditions today’ (add to your betslip)
7.15 Punchestown – Tintangle: ‘Sets the clear standard on form’ (add to your betslip)
Petit Mouchoir, trained by Henry de Bromhead, got the better of Footpad three times over hurdles last season but has failed to do so over the larger obstacles.
Pat Fahy’s Castlegrace Paddy impressed when winning a Listed contest at Thurles last month and is an interesting contender.
Dan Skelton’s British challenger Optimus Prime, who has won his last three chase outings, completes the line-up.