Irish horse racing best bets – Punchestown Festival day one tips through the card
Punchestown Festival day one tips – Through the card selections on the first day
We have five top-class days of horse racing action to look forward to with the Punchestown Festival going to post and we’ve picked out our Punchestown Festival day one tips through the card.
While the UK jumps season might be over there is one last big hurrah over the sticks for punters to look forward to with Tuesday heralding in the first of five days’ top-class horse racing action with the start of the Punchestown Festival.
An eight-race card awaits punters with the first day fixture crammed with big names who have already contested at one or both of the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National Festival and will be turning out again with a view to landing a big prize prior to the curtain falling on the Irish jumps racing season.
The Tuesday racecard includes a trio of Grade One contests headed by the William Hill sponsored Champion Chase over two miles and we’ve looked through the classy eight-race card in Ireland to pick out our Punchestown Festival day one tips through the card.
IRISH HORSE RACING BEST BETS – PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL DAY ONE TIPS THROUGH THE CARD
3:40 Punchestown – Have The Conversation Say Yes To Organ Donation Novice Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m½f
Lightly-raced YA YA BABY won with something to spare when getting off the mark at the third attempt and Jessica Harrington’s charge can improve again now tackling handicaps.
The Hallowed Crown filly had the reopposing Clever Currency behind her that day, travelling well into the race and taking up the running over the final flight before keeping on well for a two lengths’ victory at Cork.
She has been given an opening rating of 111 for this switch to the handicap ranks which could underestimate her potential to improve and she’s one who ought to have more to offer. She does take on some battle-hardened rivals in this competitive opener but she’s been progressing along the right lines in maiden company and she can find another jolt of improvement to make her presence felt here.
4:15 Punchestown – eCOMM Merchant Solutions Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m½f
This looks likely to develop into a match between the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Blue Lord and ECHOES IN RAIN with preference for the latter despite Paul Townend partnering the former.
That one looked likely to be in the frame although no match for easy winner Appreciate It when falling at the last in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the recent Cheltenham Festival and he brings solid form to the table.
However Echoes In Rain has looked a much improved sort since learning to settle and she arrives here having won three of her last four starts, the last two in Grade Two company at Naas and Fairyhouse respectively earlier this month.
The Authorized mare bolted up by 15 lengths that day from M C Muldoon and she had previously brushed aside Belfast Banter by eight lengths who has won twice since including a Grade One. She’ll find her stablemate no pushover as she goes up in grade against Blue Lord who is proven at this level; but his recent fall may just have shook his confidence and it might be worth sticking with Echoes In Rain to come out on top in a race that should centre on the pair.
4:50 Punchestown – Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m½f
MASTER MCSHEE won back-to-back races towards the end of 2020, scoring wins at Cork and Leopardstown respectively in maiden and handicap company prior to dipping his toe in Graded company.
The Malinas gelding wasn’t disgraced in either run although likely found the company too hot, finishing seventh to Appreciate It at Leopardstown in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle before crossing the line in fifth behind Echoes In Rain at Fairyhouse earlier this month.
Paddy Corkery’s charge drops back into the handicap ranks here where could still be fairly treated off his 142 rating although the form of his Leopardstown success over Christmas has taken a few knocks. Nevertheless he can get competitive here back handicapping and he could make his presence felt in this big-field contest.
5:25 Punchestown – William Hill Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m
Allaho turned in one of the best performances of the Cheltenham Festival when routing his field to win the Ryanair Chase from the front; but the No Risk At All gelding might be vulnerable dropping to two miles and CHACUN POUR SOI can repair his dented reputation having come up short at Cheltenham in the Champion Chase where he had Nube Negra behind.
That rival is feared given he might have won had he not stumbled over the last before flying up the hill; but there’s a suspicion that the selection didn’t fully let himself down on the Cheltenham undulations and he may just have found himself stretched by the lung-bursting climb to the line having come to win his race.
He has a length to find with Nube Negra from that run which has seen the form franked; but back on home soil and as a previous course and distance winner he could prove a different proposition now where he can resume winning ways.
5:55 Punchestown – Goffs Land Rover Bumper (4-5yo) 2m½f
HUNTINGTOWN has the benefit of experience having finished a creditable fourth here two weeks ago and the Presenting gelding can put the lessons learned on that occasion to good use.
Edward O’Grady’s charge was only beaten just over two lengths, keeping on well from the rear but looking green under pressure. He could find only one pace but he was only a head behind the third horse home and clear of the remainder.
That run will have taught him plenty and he looks sure to improve as he bids to open his account at the second attempt although he faces some very interesting rivals none more so than Nonbinding who represents a yard who has won this three times in the last five years and is a half-brother to Ferny Hollow.
The selection however may be worth chancing to dent a few reputations with the benefit of a run behind him and he can go close here.
6:30 Punchestown – Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m½f
This could arguably prove to be the race of the week with Envoi Allen looking to bounce back from his fall at the Cheltenham Festival as he goes up in trip for the first time; but with stamina for this distance assured MONKFISH could inflict a second defeat on Henry De Bromhead’s rival.
Willie Mullins’ star has won his last seven starts over hurdles and fences latterly, and he’s unbeaten over the larger obstacles with a series of impressive displays including when readily taking the former RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
He did face a relatively straightforward task on that occasion, but he did the job well and showed this trip was no issue despite not always being the most fluent at his fences. However he did win his chase debut here and he could prove a tough nut to crack as he bids to remain unbeaten over fences.
With plenty to recommend him as a course winner who has won over this trip – unlike his three rivals – he looks the most solid option to come out on top.
7:00 Punchestown – Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup (5yo+) 3m1f
Enda Bolger has a very good record in this race and SAINT BENEDICT could give the trainer another success in the contest if bouncing back from having unseated his rider when last seen.
The Milan gelding won a point-to-point last February and he’s been in good form since returning from more than seven months off where he’s made the frame in all but three starts in hunters’ chases and between the flags.
He posted three consecutive runner-up efforts earlier this year at Clonmel (twice) and Thurles although he was beaten when getting rid of his rider last time at Downpatrick. Despite that mishap he could go well switching to the banks course and if his recent mishap hasn’t dented confidence then he ought to go well here.
7:35 Punchestown – Irish Field – We Are All About The Horse INH Flat Race (4yo) 2m½f
Those who have had a start don’t set the bar particularly high and Hara Kiri was a shade disappointing when being well backed for his debut but only finishing third.
That form doesn’t look particularly strong and newcomer WHATCOLORISTHEWIND looks worth chancing representing Denise Foster and partnered by Jamie Codd.
The Shirocco filly is related to a winning bumper performer and she’s likely to know her job on her debut so has to be of interest given her stable and jockey combination. If the market speaks in her favour then she could to go well in this contest and it wouldn’t come as a huge shock to see her in the mix in the day one finale.