Sunday’s Daily Double – 6/1 double covering big races at Punchestown and Kelso
Jon Vine rolls his NAP and Next Best into this Daily Double, covering races at Punchestown and Kelso on Sunday 12th January.
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Sunday’s Daily Double
1:05pm Punchestown Killiney Novice Chase (Grade 3) 2m4f
Considering the way City Island jumped on his chasing debut, and the lack of depth in the race, I was expected CAREFULLY SELECTED (NAP) to open up around the 4/6 mark. So, to see Willie Mullins’ charge sitting on an early price of 11/10 is an opportunity I don’t want to pass up.
Carefully Selected always had the look of a chaser and jumped well on his first start over fences, for the most part. The favourite looked to be cruising towards an easy victory, but a shocking leap at the second-last looked to have ruined his chances. Carefully Selected managed to recover his composure and, despite that calamitous error, pulled clear after the last to secure a comfortable win.
Trips of this length are a little short of what he’s capable of and I wouldn’t be shocked if the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham wasn’t at the top of Willie Mullins’ list of targets. The likes of City Island and Dallas Des Pictons may have a better turn of foot, but Carefully Selected – who was due to run in the Grade One Neville Hotels over Christmas before the ground came up good – should have too much class for them on Sunday.
3:35pm Kelso Join Racing TV Now Handicap Hurdle (Class 5) 2m
This handicap hurdle revolves around STARPLEX (NB), who travels to Kelso in search of a hat-trick. Following an encouraging second at Kelso on his first jumps start of the new season, Starplex was backed into favouritism for a Class Five Handicap and duly delivered, staying on gamely over two-and-a-half-miles to secure a two-length victory.
Brian Hughes’ mount then registered an even more impressive display over the minimum distance last time out, tanking through the race before pulling clear after the final flight.
Keith Dalgleish’s ten-year-old has been thrown up the handicap by nine pounds following his latest success and will have to deal with top-weight. Yet, Starplex remains some eleven-pounds short of the career-high hurdles mark he scaled a couple of years ago and should have no problem beating what looks a mediocre field.