Joncol is set to make his debut over hurdles
©Healy Racing Photos
Paul Nolan plans to give Joncol a spin over hurdles following a disappointing round of jumping in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal earlier this month.
The 2010 Irish Hennessy winner missed the second half of last season with a tendon injury and although he ran with some promise on his return to action at Punchestown in October, he was always struggling back in Grade One company last time.
That said, he was not beaten all that far at the finish and Nolan feels if he had jumped with a little more purpose he might well have been in the thick of things.
Nolan said: "We came away a bit disappointed as he just backed off a few of his fences and didn't seem to have the appetite for jumping.
"I think he was only beaten just over 14 lengths and if you add up the ground he lost at the fences on the way round, he should have been bang there.
"We'll give him a run over hurdles next time to try and sweeten him up a bit. He's never run over hurdles before as he was such a big horse we went straight over fences with him, but it might just help us get his mind right."
Another Nolan inmate set for a switch back to the smaller obstacles is Noble Prince.
He won the Jewson Novices' Chase at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, but was injured in the Ryanair Chase last spring and showed little spark on his return to action in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
Nolan said: "He seems well and he'll go back over hurdles for a conditions race somewhere.
"He could just never get into a rhythm the last day. It was all over for him after the second fence and he just didn't take to it.
"A lot of good horses don't perform to their best at Aintree."