Croco heading to Punchestown

Croco Bay (nearside) holds off Bun Doran in the Grand Annual

Grand Annual hero Croco Bay will head to the Punchestown Festival.

The 12-year-old was an unconsidered 66-1 chance for the two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham – but made nearly all the running under a bold ride from Kielan Woods.

It was Croco Bay’s first run since July and his fourth appearance in the race, having previously fared best when third to Next Sensation in 2015.

Trainer Ben Case said: “He will go to Punchestown and run in the two-mile handicap over there. Subject to him being OK, that is where we plan to take him.”

The veteran is reported in fine form, since his shock Cheltenham victory, to press on to Punchestown – where he was fourth in a big handicap three years ago.

“He came out of the race really well,” added Case.

“He ran a good race there (Punchestown) before – but the trainer ran him in the wrong race, over two and a half miles. He looked the winner two out, then he didn’t quite get home.

“If he had run somewhere between Worcester and Cheltenham he would not have been that price, because he had run well in the race before and was handicapped to run well.”