The view from connections ahead of the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
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Balder Succes bids to sign off a highly-lucrative second half of the campaign by completing a four-timer in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
After the six-year-old had taken a brace of Grade Two victories at Warwick and Kempton, his trainer Alan King opted to sidestep Cheltenham with him and wait for Aintree.
The decision was rewarded as Balder Succes lifted the Grade One Maghull Novices' Chase. Since then it has been all systems go for Punchestown.
"We reaped the rewards for giving Cheltenham a miss when Balder Succes delivered impressively at Aintree," the Barbury Castle trainer told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"He went there fresh and well and proved that he does not have to make the running, and it was always the plan to go on to Punchestown, so, hopefully, he can sign off with another big win."
King admitted he did think of pitching Balder Succes in the Champion Chase but after some consideration, he thought better of it.
"We had him in the Champion Chase on the opening day and it was a difficult decision," he said.
"I just thought, with the second, third and fourth from the Queen Mother the novice might be easier, but I've the utmost respect for Champagne Fever.
"We'll stick to novice company as it will be the last time he gets to take other novices on."
Trifolium was beaten four and a half lengths when third to Balder Succes in the Maghull and is one of two runners from Charles Byrnes' stable along with Arnaud, who was out of the money in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at the Liverpool venue.
The County Limerick trainer is happy with both his contenders and hopes they do themselves justice.
"Both are in very good form. The ground will probably suit Arnaud. Trifolium has to step up on his last run, but both should run well" said Byrnes.
Moscow Mannon was some 14 and a half lengths in fourth spot behind Balder Succes at Aintree which leaves trainer Henry be Bromhead no more than hopeful.
"He's in good form, but obviously he has it all to do to turn it round with Balder Succes on the Aintree form," said the County Waterford handler.
"We've been happy with him since, though, so we'll give it a go and see what happens."
Tom George specifically saved God's Own for this race and to continue a novice career next season after finishing second to Balder Succes at Kempton in February, when he was only beaten a length and a quarter.
"He has to go right-handed and he had a good run last time behind Balder Succes," said the Slad trainer.
"We purposely didn't run him again because we want to keep him a novice for next season. That's the reason he hasn't run.
"He's got form with the likes of those horses and I'd say he's possibly improving, so we thought we'd give it a shot."