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2019 Punchestown Festival tips - Tips for both Grade Ones on Gold Cup Wednesday

A view of the runners jumping the last in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Our expert takes a look through every race on day two of the Punchestown Festival and provides readers with his tips.

The second day of Festivities at Punchestown features two top-level contests. Once the best first-season stayers have fought it out in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, many of the sport’s biggest names will take to the track ahead of the Punchestown Gold Cup. Since the Punchestown Festival was created in the late 1990’s, many of the best stayers on the circuit have claimed victory in this lucrative Grade One and viewers look set for a fantastic renewal on the Punchestown Gold Cup next Wednesday.

Our expert has taken a closer look at both Grade Ones on day two of the Punchestown Festival and provided readers with his selections.

2019 Punchestown Festival Day Two Tips

5:30pm Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m

It would be fair to say there’s more to come from Minella Indo once he settles better into his races. Commander Of Fleet finished really well considering he made a hash of the third-last obstacle and Allaho shaped promisingly before being found-out by the uphill finish. It wouldn’t be a surprise if either of the three went on to win, but I'm always hesitant to follow the form of the Albert Bartlett - due to it's unpredictable nature - and I'm going to have a long each-way punt in WALK AWAY (20/1 Paddy Power).

Walk Away arrived at Henry De Bromhead's yard after a simple point-to-point success and made an immediate impression at Thurles, staying on powerfully over 22 furlongs to beat a couple of experienced sorts in a competitive maiden. Walk Away then travelled to Aintree to make his Grade One debut in the Mersey Novices' Hurdle. Robbie Power held her mount up at the rear of the field and, although he barely landed a blow, the six-year-old kept on nicely down the home straight to finish fourth.

Despite being far less experienced than all of his rivals, Walk Away looked very composed at Aintree and could have finished closer to the likes of Champ and Emitom had Power pressed the accelerator a little sooner. Whether he will be good enough to beat the horses at the head of the market, at this stage of his career, I'm not totally sure, but I'm prepared to take a chance in this sort of race.

6:05pm Coral Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m½f

Bellshill is unbeaten here at Punchestown, winning Grade Ones on the flat, over hurdles and last year in this very race.  There is some value to be had backing last year’s winner each-way at 7/1, but Bellshill is a very sketchy performer, capable of the sublime and the substandard on any given day, which makes his very hard to tip.

Kemboy shot up to a stunning rating of 174 after that faultless display at Aintree, where Ruby Walsh’s mount couldn’t have been more impressive. There’s no doubting, however, that the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Bristol De Mai and Road To Respect all underperformed that day, allowing Kemboy to dictate the race, as he did at Leopardstown. I remain unconvinced that Kemboy truly is one of the best in the business and there’s plenty of value to be found backing AL BOUM PHOTO (15/8 William Hill), in what is likely to be a biblical clash.

Jumping errors and inexperience cropped up throughout Al Boum Photo’s novice chasing season last term. While Mullins’ exuberant seven-year-old failed to complete on half of his outings. Yet, there were definite signs of star quality during his Ryanair Gold Cup victory and here at Punchestown - where Al Boum Photo was still yet to be asked a question in the Growise, before Paul Townend inexplicably decided to bypass the final fence.

On his only outing before Cheltenham, Al Boum Photo comfortably dealt with Total Recall and Invitation Only with a composed display at Tramore. Despite Mullins’ fears that this year’s Gold Cup was coming a little early in his career, Al Boum Photo proved again he had matured and improved during the course of the last year, staying on brilliantly to hold off Anibale Fly and Bristol De Mai quite convincingly. 

There’s no reason why this mercurial talent cannot progress even further over the coming seasons and I expect Al Boum Photo – and Paul Townend - to make up for that farcical exit 12 months ago by claiming Punchestown Gold Cup glory.

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2019 Punchestown Festival tips - Tips for both Grade Ones on Gold Cup Wednesday

Our expert takes a look through every race on day two of the Punchestown Festival and provides readers with his tips on Wednesday 1st May.

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