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2018 Punchestown Festival Tips

Looking for the best Punchestown Festival tips? Our experts have written tips for all the big races during the Festival and provided their NAPs for each of the five days.
The wait for the 2018 Punchestown Festival is over and horse racing fanatics will be in search of the best Punchestown tips available ahead of the world famous meeting.

Over the five days, a dozen Grade One prizes will be handed out and some of National Hunt racing's most popular horses will strut their stuff on the Punchestown turf. The Punchestown Gold Cup is the undoubtedly highlight of the Festival, but each day will feature a wide range of top-level contests, handicaps, flat races and hunter chases.

With €3 million on offer over the course of the week, Britain’s leading trainers and jockeys flock to Punchestown to battle it out with their Irish counterparts. Some of the most lucrative prizes of the season will be awarded at the Punchestown Festival, where the racing is as enthralling as it is fiercely competitive.

Day Five Race By Race Tips

rian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for the fifth and final day of the 2018 Punchestown Festival.


Saturday’s horse racing action in Ireland sees the conclusion of the top-class Punchestown Festival, and an eight-race card brings the curtain down on another thrilling week at the premier Irish track.

The feature race of Saturday’s racecard is the Grade One Mares’ Novice Hurdle, which is named after the top-class mare Annie Power, and the day’s action gets underway from 2.35pm.

2:35 - Dooley Insurances Cross Country Chase (5yo+) 3m
3:10 - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m½f
3:50 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m4f
4:25 - AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo) 2m
5:00 - BoyleSports Handicap Chase (5yo+ 0-145) 3m6f
5:35 - Ballymore Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m4f
6:10 - PDM (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m
6:40 - 29th Running Punchestown Charity Race (4yo+) 1m7f

On the fifth and final day of horse racing action at the Leinster venue, Brian Healy gives his race-by-race tips for all eight races.

2:35 - Dooley Insurances Cross Country Chase (5yo+) 3m


JOSIES ORDERS (11/8, BetVictor) bounced back from a poor effort in the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase in March when finding only one too good here two days ago; Enda Bolger’s charge could go one better if none the worse for those exertions, and the course and distance winner can get back on the scoresheet.

3:10 - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m½f


SUTTON MANOR (14/1, William Hill) had shown some good form over fences prior to scoring at Down Royal on Boxing Day, making the frame behind the likes of Presenting Percy, Monalee and The Storyteller.

Gordon Elliott’s charge ran out a narrow winner over Burgas when posting his success, but he hasn’t matched that form since and he pulled up in the Irish Grand National when last seen out.

The Gold Well gelding could be worth another chance though, with this less demanding trip likely to be more suitable.

3:50 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m4f


Benie Des Dieux took the measure of APPLE’S JADE (13/8, Paddy Power) when the pair clashed in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival; but Gordon Elliott’s charge ran too freely there when running a shade below her best, eventually finishing third.

The Saddler Maker filly can gain revenge here with fellow front-runners likely to give her a tow into the race. Her earlier defeat of Supasundae reads really well now, and she is given the chance to make amends for her last-time defeat.

4:25 - AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo) 2m


STORMY IRELAND (3/1, Coral) is given another chance to build on the excellent impression she made when winning on his debut at Fairyhouse back in December when running out a near-60 lengths winner over North Carolina.

Willie Mullins’ Motivator filly had proven useful in France previously, and she may just have burnt herself out too quickly in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival having raced keenly and cut out most of the running.

She was beaten when falling at the last, but likely would have finished third; this track may suit her better than Cheltenham, and if learning to settle better, she could bounce back here.

In receipt of 7lbs from her rivals it would come as no surprise to see her post a big effort.

5:00 - BoyleSports Handicap Chase (5yo+ 0-145) 3m6f


DAKLONDIKE (13/2, Ladbrokes) has very much looked a stayer on the up, winning three of his last four starts which include a defeat of Grand Vision at Newbury when last seen.

David Pipe’s unexposed charge looked to need every yard of that contest, beating Colin Tizzard’s charge to lift the Mandarin Chase; the runner-up has since won, as well as posting a creditable sixth in the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival so the form of that Newbury success looks decent.

The Gold Well gelding has more on his plate having been raised 6lbs in the weights and now thrust into a stronger race; drying ground isn’t ideal, but the additional yardage here may negate the negatives and he can give a good account back from a break.

5:35 - Ballymore Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m4f


DREAM BERRY (11/1, Coral) looked progressive last term, winning at Market Rasen prior to making the frame in a trio of good contests which include an Aintree Grade Three race and when finding only Open Eagle too strong in this race, beaten a half-length.

Jonjo O’Neill’s yard hasn’t had the best of seasons, but there have been green shoots of recovery in recent weeks and the Gold Well gelding showed up well on his return from eleven months off to finish a creditable seventh in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He was perhaps given too much to do, as he finished off the race well; and if he can build on that return then he could prove well-treated off this mark.

6:10 - PDM (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m


DLAURO (2/1, BetVictor) struck at the first time of asking in the point-to-point sphere, and Joseph O’Brien’s Lauro gelding can get off the mark now switching into a bumper.

He ran out an easy six lengths winner for Donnchadh Doyle at Belharbour in February, and he could develop into a classy sort in time. He cost connections a considerable sum, and a bold bid is expected as he seeks to pay back a chunk of that outlay.

He was impressive in that win, and there’s no reason to suspect he won’t go close in this first foray under Rules.


Joseph O'Brien (left) can saddle a final day winner at the Punchestown Festival.


6:40 - 29th Running Punchestown Charity Race (4yo+) 1m7f


The charity race to close out the Punchestown Festival isn’t one for punters to take much of an interest in; but HOLLOW TREE (20/1, Paddy Power) could make them all go on his return to the flat.

The veteran Beat Hollow gelding was smart for Andrew Balding, and he arrives back on the level some seven years after his last start in this sphere, which was a win at Salisbury. He is fit from hurdling, and on the pick of his flat form he ought to go close although this isn’t a race to get involved in and one instead to take as a piece of fun.

2018 PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL DAY FIVE TIPS - RACE-BY-RACE SELECTIONS


2:35 - JOSIES ORDERS (11/8, BetVictor)

3:10 - SUTTON MANOR (14/1, William Hill)

3:50 - APPLE’S JADE (13/8, Paddy Power)

4:25 - STORMY IRELAND (3/1, Coral)

5:00 - DAKLONDIKE (13/2, Ladbrokes)

5:35 - DREAM BERRY (11/1, Coral)

6:10 - DLAURO (2/1, BetVictor)

6:40 - HOLLOW TREE (20/1, Paddy Power)

Punchestown Gold Cup Star-Rating Guide

Our expert has put together this star-rating guide for the feature race at Punchestown’s Spring Festival on Wednesday 18th April.

Next week, Punchestown racecourse will welcome capacity crowds through their gates, as they host their famous five-day Spring Festival. Over the course of the week, a hatful of Grade One prizes will be handed out and the race to be crowned Ireland’s Champion Trainer will reach a thrilling conclusion.

Our expert enjoyed some success with his last star-rating guide, handing Tiger Roll the only five-star rating in his guide to the Grand National. He’s taken a closer look at 15 potential entrants in the Punchestown Gold Cup and rated each runner’s chances of winning out of five stars.

Punchestown Gold Cup Star-Rating Guide


Alpha Des Obeaux was giving Rachel Blackmore a lovely spin in the Grand National. They were tracking the leaders when an unexpected blunder at the Chair brought the pair crashing back down to earth.

A victory in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase earlier in the season suggested Alpha Des Obeaux may be ready for the step up to Grade One company, but results since have been rather underwhelming. I tipped Mouse Morris' charge to run a big race in the National and I still think he could be a very capable horse, but I'd be surprised if he was a factor on Wednesday.

Alpha Des Obeaux Star Rating ⭐ 2.5 ⭐ 


Willie Mullins gave Bellshill the long-term objective of the Irish Grand National during the off-season and, after winning his solitary prep-run in the Bobbyjo, the eight-year-old entered Fairyhouse as one of the leading contenders. Approaching the second-last fence, Bellshill was still on the bridle and travelling smoothly. However, David Mullins’ mount veered dramatically to the left upon leaping the last and could only regather enough momentum to finish fifth.

Mullins sparked a conspiracy theory when he suggested the flash of a photographer’s lens could have accounted for Bellshill’s late wandering. That bizarre finish aside, there’s no doubting Bellshill was the best horse in the Irish Grand National. He’s much classier than a mere handicapper and will travel to Punchestown with genuine winning chances.

Bellshill Star Rating ⭐ 4.5 ⭐


Willie Mullins’ Gold Cup regular has endured a hugely underwhelming campaign. Four straight defeats mean Djakadam carries little-to-no form into Punchestown and his rating is six-pounds inferior to that he brought into this race last season.

12 months ago, Djakadam bounced back from a disappointing fourth at Cheltenham to push Sizing John all the way to the line. Rich Ricci’s charge may be a little down on his luck at the moment, but there were signs during his fifth-place finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month that things may be starting to come together again and he could be a lively each-way contender to follow.

Djakadam Star Rating ⭐ 4 ⭐


Edwulf’s resurrection from the brink of death to the top of the Irish chasing ranks has been one of the feel-good stories of the jumps racing season and everyone was delighted to see Joseph O’Brien’s star returned to Cheltenham last month. 12 months after his nearly-fatal collapse in the National Hunt Chase, Derek O’Connor guided the nine-year-old to an eighth-place finish in jumps racing’s most famous race.

Although he couldn’t recapture the form that saw him claim a shock victory in the Irish Gold Cup, O’Brien can be extremely proud of Edwulf’s efforts at Cheltenham. Do I think he’s going to challenge at Punchestown next week? No. But I would love to see him end a miraculous season on an almighty high.

Edwulf Star Rating ⭐ 3.5 ⭐


It lseemed Killultagh Vic had lost none of his old zest when he made his overdue return in the autumn, beating a decent field of hurdlers over two-and-a-half miles here at Punchestown. Despite just one run in the space of two years, many were tipping Killultagh Vic to make up for lost time in the Irish Gold Cup and Willie Mullins’ chaser looked on-course to seal his comeback with a victory before coming down at the final obstacle.

Mullins was confident that fall hadn’t left its mark as he sent Killultagh Vic to Cheltenham, but the nine-year-old registered a lacklustre performance and was pulled up before jumping the second last. Returning to the Punchestown Festival will bring back good memories for Mullins’ charge - who beat Thistlecrack in the Irish Daily Mirror Hurdle three years ago. 

Recent tragic developments mean Killultagh Vic's price has come in a little. Still, it would be a surprise if Willie Mullins' chaser wasn't much-improved from his latest start and he could be the best each-way bet in this three miler.  

Killultagh Vic Star Rating ⭐ 5 ⭐


Once again, the dreadfully wet weather caused Minella Rocco to bypass a Festival outing. Jonjo O’Neill fancied his charge’s chances in the Gold Cup before the weather gods intervened and connections decided not to bottom their chaser out on ground he would have hated in the Grand National last week.

Minella Rocco’s search for genuine spring ground is likely to take him to Punchestown next week. The drying ground means it's highly likely Minella Rocco will make an appearance in this Gold Cup, but he's been out of action for quite a long time now, he's shown little to no form this season and underfoot conditions may still be a little juicy for him.

Minella Rocco Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐


If you look beyond the two letters which feature most prominently on Outlander’s seasonal form book, Gordon Elliott’s charge has enjoyed a strong season. Consistency has never been a word you would associate with Outlander, but the ten-year-old has managed to put together a string of strong results - including podium finishes in the Christmas Chase and the Irish Gold Cup, along with a surprise victory in the JNWine Champion Chase.

Cheltenham has never been a happy hunting ground for Outlander and his work was cut out from the start at Fairyhouse, trying to carry top-weight to victory in the Irish Grand National. Yet, Outlander’s performances here in Ireland this season suggest he’s a contender who cannot be overlooked – providing that run at Fairyhouse hasn’t taken too much out of him.

Outlander Star Rating ⭐ 3.5 ⭐


Road To Respect earned five stars in my guide to the Gold Cup and, despite the ground easing to a point far beyond ideal, the 12/1 shot did me proud in holding on to claim the fourth and final place. Noel Meade will have been cursing his luck as the rain pelted Cheltenham during the week, as Road To Respect had looked the most progressive chaser in the business all season and would have finished much closer to Native River had the Cheltenham turf been slightly better.

Meade decided to skip a prospective outing at Aintree to target this race with his Christmas Chase winner, hoping the ground conditions in Ireland would be more favourable. Sadly, the current going description means Road To Respect’s ability will be slightly dampened and that long, hard slog in the Gold Cup is likely to have taken a lot out of him.

Road To Respect Star Rating ⭐ 4.5 ⭐


Since falling to a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Thyestes Handicap Chase when carrying an 8/1 price to post, Sumos Novios’ form has taken a significant turn for the betting. Liam Burke’s ten-year-old followed a good win at Wexford with a hard-fought Grade Three triumph over hot-favourite Mala Beach in the Imperial Call Chase at Cork.

Sumos Novios is in the form of his life and deserves a run-out in a race of this stature. Sadly, there are a dozen chasers entered into this race who are much better than he is and the ten-year-old’s presence would be there to merely make up the numbers.

Sumos Novios Star Rating ⭐ 2 ⭐


Ladbrokes Trophy winner, Total Recall was backed into clear favouritism for the Grand National at Aintree, with many people feeling Paul Townend's mount was the best handicapped of the bunch. It became evident extremely quickly that Total Recall wasn't enjoying the challenge poses by the fearsome National obstacles and Townend pulled his mount up for half-a-mile to go after an error-strewn display.

Total Recall has made remarkable progress this season and could be a Grade One contender over the coming seasons. However, his efforts in the Gold Cup and the Grand National are bound to have taken their toll and it's hard to make a case for backing Willie Mullins' charge.

Total Recall Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐ 

Final Punchestown Gold Cup Star-Rating Guide


  Killultagh Vic - 5 ⭐
*
Bellshill - 4.5
Road To Respect - 4.5
*
Djakadam - 4
*
Edwulf - 3.5
Outlander - 3.5
Minella Rocco - 3.5
*
Total Recall - 3
*
Alpha Des Obeaux - 2.5
*
Sumos Novios - 2

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Tips

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Grade One on day four of the Punchestown Festival and provides readers with his tips.


Friday at the Punchestown Festival is headlined by the Champion Hurdle, a race which has seen some of the best two mile hurdlers in the history of the sport enforce their legacy. Irish great Istabraq won the inaugural running of this Grade One in 1999 and he’s since been joined on the roll of honour by Moscow Flyer, Hardy Eustace and Hurricane Fly.

Topping the betting for the 2018 renewal is Willie Mullins’ Melon (15/8 Paddy Power), who upset the form book to run Buveur D’Air close in the Champion Hurdle. Mullins’ six-year-old travelled to Cheltenham on the back of a poor showing in the Irish Champion Hurdle, but handled the heavy turf at Cheltenham better than most of his rivals and was neck-and-neck with Buveur D’Air jumping the last before the champion opened up a narrow advantage.

Faugheen (10/1 Boylesports) too had to suffer defeat in the Irish Champion Hurdle and was backed into second-favouritism for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Sadly, the former all-conquering hurdler’s struggles continued, trailing over the line 20 lengths behind Melon and Buveur D’Air. It’s clear injuries have taken their toll on the 2015 Punchestown king and “the machine” isn’t the force of old. He proved on his return to action that he’s still capable of running a big race, but that Cheltenham defeat means Faugheen’s rating has dropped by nine pounds since his last Grade One triumph.

Mick Jazz’s (15/2 Betfair) consistent seasonal form continued at Cheltenham, as Gordon Elliott watched his charge claim his second successive third in Grade One company. As Faugheen was being pulled up at Leopardstown before Christmas, Mick Jazz won the battle with Cilaos Emery to win his first Grade One in the Ryanair Hurdle. He has some ground to make up on Melon, having twice finished behind him this season, but Mick Jazz is a Grade One winner who shouldn’t be overlooked.

Wicklow Brave (6/1 Boylesports) made his return to jumps racing at Cheltenham, finishing seventh in the Champion Hurdle for the second successive season. Patrick Mullins guided the nine-year-old to a tremendous victory in this race last season, powering clear of the field rounding the final bend to seal a comfortable victory.

As has become customary with My Tent Or Yours (7/1 Paddy Power), the eleven-year-old ran on well to finish second behind Wicklow Brave last season. After missing the Champion Hurdle, Nicky Henderson stepped his teenager up in trip in the Aintree Hurdle, but he floundered over the final half-mile and could only pass the post fourth. An each-way bet really is the only way you can back My Tent Or Yours and, at his current price, he offers very little value.

Melon (right) challenging Buveur D'Air (left) in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.


Identity Thief (10/1 Betfair), Apple’s Jade (12/1 Paddy Power) and Coquin Mans (12/1 Betfair) feature in the betting, but it would be a surprise if they appeared in this two-miler. One who could drop back in trip is Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae (10/1 Boylesports), who secured the biggest result of his career when beating Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle in February. He went on to finish second in both the Stayers’ Hurdle and the Aintree Hurdle and Harrington could choose to drop him back in trip again on his final start of the season.

There are two aces in the chasing pack behind Melon who could make surprise appearances at Punchestown. Min (5/2 Paddy Power) hasn’t jumped a hurdle for a couple of years now and was last seen being pipped to the post by Politologue in the Melling Chase at Aintree. While the turnaround could be too quick for a tilt at the Champion Chase on day one, he could be handed a sneaky tilt at this historic prize on Friday.

Another potential entrant to be feared is Gordon Elliott’s Samcro (5/2 Boylesports), who has run roughshod through the novice hurdling ranks here in Ireland. His streak of dominance continued at Cheltenham where, despite a couple of novicey mistakes, Jack Kennedy’s mount was classy enough to secure victory in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Gordon Elliott’s quest to be crowned Champion Trainer could see Samcro take on his elders, but until his participation is confirmed, it’s hard to make a case for backing him.

Melon deservedly leads the way in the betting, but he’s hardly a prolific winner and has struggled for consistency all season. Mick Jazz has to be respected, as does Supasundae, but the best value in the race could lie with defending champion WICKLOW BRAVE and it’s he who gets my vote.

Mullins’ nine-year-old was never going to enjoy the heavy ground at Cheltenham, but still recorded a respectable finish, passing the post just a length behind Faugheen. My Tent Or Yours ran well to finish within two lengths of him in this race last year and that margin of victory certainly doesn’t do Wicklow Brave’s dominant display enough justice.

It’s likely to be another busy campaign on the flat for this talented dual-purpose horse and all of the biggest staying flat races in Europe and Australia will be on Wicklow Brave’s radar. Before we get to that, he has a Grade One title to defend over hurdles and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mullins’ nine-year-old retained this coveted crown.

Champion Stayers' Hurdle

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Grade One on day three of the Punchestown Festival and provides readers with his tips.


Thursday at the Punchestown Festival is highlighted by the Irish equivalent of the Stayers’ Hurdle, which was first run back in 1995. Several of the sport’s most notable staying hurdlers have claimed this prize over the decades, with the names of Anzum, Limestone Lad and Quevega standing out on the roll of honour.

This year’s renewal will see the champion stayers from Cheltenham and Aintree go head-to-head, with Cheltenham victor Penhill (7/4 Paddy Power) currently leading the ante-post betting. Despite spending eleven months off the track, Willie Mullins’ charge produced a magnificent performance to outstay Supasundae (10/1 Betfair) and claim his second straight Cheltenham Festival title. The bounce factor has to be considered and Penhill suffered a shock defeat at last year’s meeting, but the seven-year-old is a worthy favourite for this prestigious three miler.

Identity Thief (8/1 Boylesports) pulled off quite the coup at Aintree earlier this month, powering clear of Wholestone and Sam Spinner to win the Liverpool Hurdle on his first crack at three miles. The ease in which he dealt with the 24 furlongs has led to many questioning why Henry De Bromhead hadn’t stepped his charge up in trip sooner, but Identity Thief will have his work cut out trying to reproduce that run after just a 12-day break.

Bacardys (11/2 Paddy Power) claimed the scalp of Finian’s Oscar at this meeting last year, coming from a mile back to snatch the Champion Novice Hurdle crown. The initial plan to go chasing had to be scrapped after two dismal performances over the large obstacles and things didn’t get much better in the Stayers’ Hurdle, where Bacardys fell at the last when trying to challenge for the places. Mullins’ seven-year-old has history at this meeting, but it’s hard to ignore recent failings.

Coquin Mans (6/1 Betfair) has enjoyed an eventful campaign, which has seen him win a 14 furlong contest on the flat and challenge in several Graded staying hurdles. After two runner-up finishes in Graded races, Paul Townend’s mount looked to have the race in the bag when he tackled three miles for the first time at Clonmel, only for Coquin Mans to slip up in the flat between the third and second-last fences. He bounced back to winning ways with a strong victory in the Grade Two Strawberry Hurdle last time out and comes to Punchestown in the form of his life.

Apple’s Jade (10/1 Boylesports) and Supasundae will be licking their wounds when they arrive at the Punchestown Festival, after suffering surprise defeats in England. Apple’s Jade looked well below her best when finishing third in the Mares’ Hurdle and Supasundae was trumped by L’Ami Serge when carrying a short price into the Aintree Hurdle.

It’s perfectly conceivable that the duo could renew their rivalry in this three miler, having clashed in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. However, the Champion Mares’ Hurdle seems to be Gordon Elliott’s preferred target for Apple’s Jade and Supasundae is likely to take his chance in the two-mile Champion Hurdle on day four.

Harry Fry was celebrating after this race last year, as Unowhatimeanharry (16/1 Paddy Power) gained Cheltenham revenge and pipped the ill-fated Nichols Canyon to this coveted crown. After impressing on his reappearance, the eleven-year-old’s season has fallen apart and he will return to try and defend his crown on the back of a fairly uncompetitive showing in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Penhill (second right) edges out Supasundae (right) to win the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham.


Yanworth (12/1 Boylesports) too endured a tough time on his return to hurdling at Cheltenham, fighting hard just to pass the post sixth in the thrilling blanket finish. It’s been ten years since Alan King’s Blazing Bailey upset his Irish counterparts to win this Grade One and Yanworth is perfectly capable of bouncing back with a strong performance.

Given how open the ante-post betting looks and the fact there are question marks against most near the head of the market, an each-way wager seems the most appropriate bet here and there are several at longer odds who hold appeal.

Amazingly, Yorkhill’s (25/1 Boylesports) best result of the season came when finishing eighth in the Christmas Chase on his reappearance. His shocking downturn in form reached a new low when he was pulled up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Willie Mullins must now surely step his charge back up in trip and let him have a crack at this race.

La Bague Au Roi (33/1 Betfair) tried to take on the Mares’ Hurdle field from the front at Cheltenham, before running out of puff on the run to the line. Warren Greatrex may regret dropping his mare down in trip, as she has looked a strong stayer over three mile trips and she could be an interesting outsider to watch out for.

While both hold each-way appeal, Gordon Elliott’s best hope of upstaging Willie Mullins will lie with DIAMOND CAUCHOIS (14/1 Paddy Power) and I’ve been impressed with the way he’s progressed throughout the season.

The Crillon gelding kicked off his season finishing third in a handicap off a rating of 126. After scoring an eight-length victory in another handicap at Navan in December, Elliott gave his charge a crack at Presenting Percy in the Galway Hurdle, where he stuck to his task well to pass the post third on his first attempt at a three mile trip this season.

Diamond Cauchois then claimed his first Graded prize at Navan in February, powering home to beat Lieutenant Colonel and Bapaume by a commanding nine length margin. Davy Russell’s mount had to settle for second in the Strawberry Hurdle, but he had to give two pounds to the field that day and the handicapper rewarded him with a five-pound rating hike for his efforts.

Now rated 150, Diamond Cauchois looks set to enter his first ever Grade One. Any extra cut in the ground will do his chances of running a big race no harm and he could be a dangerous challenger for the market leaders to keep a close eye on.

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