Friday Punchestown Festival tips – Irish racing best bets on day four
Friday Punchestown Festival tips and best bets
We enter day four of the Punchestown Festival on Friday where yet another classy and competitive racecard awaits punters; we’ve looked through the day’s action to pick out our Friday Punchestown Festival tips and best bets.
There is another cracking eight-race card to look forward to in Ireland on Friday as the fourth day of top-class horse racing action goes to post at the Punchestown Festival.
With two more Grade One contests taking place including the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle among the eight races that will take place we’ve looked over the day’s racing in Ireland to pick out our Friday Punchestown Festival tips and best bets on day four.
FRIDAY PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL TIPS – BEST BETS ON DAY FOUR
3:40 Punchestown – Paddy Power Hunters Chase for the Bishopscourt Cup (4yo+) 2m4f
A couple of these are regulars in this event and while he disappointed on his last outing it may be worth giving another chance to ALPHA MALE who was possibly amiss when beating just one home last time out at Cork.
Peter Maher’s charge finished runner-up in this in 2019 and he’s largely run well since in defeat although it’s been a while since the Poliglote gelding last tasted victory. He did return from a year off when finishing third to Some Man at Down Royal in March and that Cork run next time possibly just came too soon.
The runner-up has won since however and he can do better back at this venue where he’s won in the past.
4:15 Punchestown – EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (Grade A) (5yo+) 2m5f
Willie Mullins turns out another strong entry headed by Asterion Forlonges who switches from Graded company to handicaps and the Coastal Path gelding should post a bold showing; but it may be worth chancing UK raider DOSTAL PHIL who is improving over fences and shaped as if a longer trip might suit when staying on into third at Aintree earlier in the month.
Philip Hobbs’ charge won on his debut over fences when beating the progressive Funambule Sivola, after which he placed twice in subsequent starts at Sandown; he might have won on the second occasion but for making quite a bad mistake at the final fence when just one length down, eventually being beaten four lengths by Grey Diamond with the pair well clear of the only other finisher.
Third in the Red Rum Chase when last seen he travelled well into the contest before finding only one pace from two out; but he stuck well to his task and was beaten only three lengths by Editeur Du Gite.
He’s been eased 1lb since although Simon Torrens’ 3lbs claim is an obvious bonus and with the potential to improve upped in trip he could be worth chancing.
4:50 Punchestown – Hanlon Concrete Irish EBF Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m5f
SCARLET AND DOVE is a three-time winner over the larger obstacles, two of which have come in Graded company at Navan and Limerick respectively, latterly running out a comfortable seven lengths’ victor over Minx Tiara last month.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge had beaten the useful Sempo over two miles the time before at Navan before stepping up in trip to register her latest success. She also arguably had the beating of Colreevy when falling at Thurles in January and her latest run in a Grade One at Fairyhouse was better than the bare result suggests.
The Jeremy mare steps into the handicap ranks now where a mark of 140 might prove lenient and with Jordan Gainford able to claim 7lbs off her back she looks set for a big run here with a return to winning ways being no surprise should it happen.
5:25 Punchestown – Paddy Power Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m
HONEYSUCKLE silenced any lingering doubts about her speed to cope with two miles when demolishing her field in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and Henry De Bromhead’s charge can land another big prize to further stretch her unbeaten record.
The classy Sulamani mare showed plenty of winning form over further, including winning the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle; but she has shown the drop to two miles to be no issue with successive wins in the Irish Champion Hurdle as well as her more recent Cheltenham victory where she had Sharjah six lengths back in second as her nearest pursuer.
She’s already beaten all these rivals and while there may be a couple of small holes to pick in the Champion Hurdle form with the fall of Abacadabras – a winner since – and Goshen being unrideable on the track she looks hard to oppose from notching up another victory where she should take all the beating.
6:00 Punchestown – Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 2m4f
BOB OLINGER had reopposing Gaillard Du Mesnil behind when beating that rival in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month and Henry De Bromhead’s charge can give the trainer a quick Grade One double on day four of the Punchestown Festival.
The Sholokhov gelding had also beaten Ashdale Bob in the Lawlor Of Naas earlier in the campaign and he was impressive in registering his Cheltenham Festival success where he struck by almost eight lengths and hardly came off the bridle in the process.
Worryingly he could have even better to come and that Cheltenham form was done little harm when the third subsequently finished runner-up at the Aintree Grand National meeting. Rain may be forecast for Friday but he’s won on soft and heavy ground as well on quicker conditions so there’s no concerns over trip or ground and he stands out here as the most likely winner.
6:35 Punchestown – Irish Daily Star Champion Hunters Chase (4yo+) 3m½f
This is certainly competitive but it might be worth sticking with hat-trick seeking SOLOMN GRUNDY who was very useful in his younger days and he’s shown he retains plenty of ability despite being an eleven year old now.
The Westerner gelding won successive point to point contests on his first two starts for Sean Doyle prior to going back over rules and he’s won his last two outings at Gowran Park and Fairyhouse respectively.
He has been beaten twice this term by reopposing Billaway, but on the first occasion he probably found the trip too sharp, while in the latter clash he wasn’t helped by a couple of late mistakes. He’s since been fitted with a hood and his form has certainly cranked up a level and with this better ground unlikely to be an issue he could well come out on top now.
7:05 Punchestown – SalesSense International Novice Hurdle (4yo+) 2m
There was no disgrace in coming off second-best behind Echoes In Rain when last seen and MC MULDOON can get back on the winning trail here.
A winner on the flat for Peter Chapple-Hyam and now with Willie Mullins the Mastercraftsman gelding showed up well on his hurdles debut at Leopardstown on Boxing Day following long absence, finishing fourth behind Wide Receiver and he stepped up on that outing to get off the mark equipped with a hood at Fairyhouse the following month.
There he scored a narrow victory over Whowonthetoss, prevailing by three-parts of a length and he faced a stiff test behind his stablemate next time where he was keen early. Although no match for his stablemate he was clear of the third and the winner bolted up here on day one, beating Colonel Mustard who had finished behind the selection in the same Fairyhouse contest.
Further progress can’t be ruled out given he remains unexposed and he ought to make his presence felt here where he could get back on the scoresheet.
7:35 Punchestown – Avison Young INH Flat Race (5-7yo) 2m2f
BUBBLES IN MAY might not have been suited by having to cut out the running at Downpatrick back in August, fading to finish seventh behind Walking Fame. However it might be worth giving the Stowaway mare another chance having shaped well on her debut at Ballinrobe.
On that occasion she found only one too good in Mars Harper where she was trained by Emmet Mullins; she’s now joined Padraig Roche and she might benefit from a more patient ride with Finny Maguire taking over.
She may get more of a lead to chase after this time rather than make her own running and that could show her in a better light this time around. This is pretty open however and hard to unravel; but the yard does fairly well with the few runners in bumpers they send out and she could go well here.