Ground a concern for Joncol

Nolan ace needs rain in Berkshire

Last Updated: 22/11/11 1:28pm

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Paul Nolan will only confirm Joncol as a definite runner in Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury if the ground is good to soft or slower.

The dual Grade One winner has been campaigned solely in testing conditions in Ireland during his career and the ground he encounters at Newbury is likely to be the fastest he has ever run on.

Nolan is praying for rain to give his eight-year-old the best possible chance and he is reported to be in rude health having made an impressive seasonal return at Thurles at the start of this month.

"At the moment the intention is to travel and I'm just hoping they get the bit of rain that's forecast. As long as the ground is good to soft I think he'll take his chance." said Nolan.

"It will be interesting to see how he handles it as it will be the first time he's run on a bit of nice ground.

"We've missed the Punchestown Festival for the last couple of seasons because the ground has been drying out but at least at this time of year, the ground should not be drying out too much.

"We won't really know how he handles it until we have a go. Hopefully he can prove he's not a total mudlark, but obviously the more rain they get the better.

"He did it very nicely in Thurles the last day and should improve on that as he had a good blow afterwards.

"Barry Geraghty will ride him on Saturday, which is great news, so we're looking forward to it."

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