Thursday Irish racing best bets – Day Three Punchestown Festival tips
Day three Punchestown Festival tips through the card
We enter day three of the Punchestown Festival on Thursday with more top-class horse racing action over the sticks featuring the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase on another quality card. We’ve picked out our day three Punchestown Festival tips through the card.
The Punchestown Festival continues into a third day on Thursday with another top-class eight-race card for punters to take in.
Two Grade One contests head the third day fixture with the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers’ Hurdle joined by the Ryanair Novice Chase; while there is a return to the banks course with the La Touche Cup on another fantastic afternoon and early evening fixture.
We’ve looked through all the day’s action at the premier Irish racing track to pick out our day three Punchestown Festival tips and best bets through the card.
IRISH HORSE RACING BEST BETS – DAY THREE PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL TIPS
3:40 Punchestown – Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 88-123) 2m
Plenty in with chances here and it might be worth siding with MISTY MILLIE who made a very good fist of things back over hurdles when finding only one too good at Kilbeggan last week and can compete here from the same mark.
Garvan Donnelly’s charge won over hurdles at that same venue back in July 2019 and she’s since gone chasing mixed with some flat racing outings where she was a winner at Bellewstown in August last year.
She was unconvincing however over fences and it is perhaps no surprise to see her turn out quickly back over the smaller obstacles where he looks well-treated and could go well having run well seven days ago in this sphere.
Drying ground will certainly be in her favour and the Dylan Thomas mare can make her presence felt under 3lbs claimer Conor Orr whose allowance adds further credence to her claims.
4:15 Punchestown – Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m
TOP MOON might be worth chancing if forgiven his effort in the Irish Grand National earlier in the month where the Spanish Moon gelding pulled up having found the test too much.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge had finished runner-up on his two starts previous, finding only A Wave Of The Sea too strong by a neck in the Matheson Chase at Leopardstown in February and subsequently beaten just over one length by Myth Buster next time at Thurles.
A return to two miles is no issue for the six-year old who is one of five in the race for JP McManus, while a slight ease in the handicap puts him below the mark from which he went close on his penultimate start.
He’s yet to win over fences but he should find this trip much more agreeable than the stamina test he faced last time and it wouldn’t be a huge shock if he were to be competitive judged on his earlier efforts.
4:50 Punchestown – Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase (5yo+) 4m2f
SOME NECK finished third over three miles at this track in the Risk Of Thunder Chase won by Neverushacon, after which John McConnell’s charge headed to Cheltenham to win the Glenfarclas Cross Country during the December Meeting, beating Defi Des Carres.
The Yeats gelding returned there to finish a distant third behind a resurgent Tiger Roll back there in March during the Cheltenham Festival and a reproduction of that effort should prove good enough to see him lift this prize.
He does have to prove stamina for another half-mile but he ought to see out the distance and he had Alpha Des Obeaux behind in that Festival outing; he can confirm form despite being 5lbs worse off with that rival and with past experience of these obstacles he ought to go well.
5:25 Punchestown – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 3m
FLOORING PORTER has improved out of all recognition this term, winning four of six starts which inlcude the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle and the Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle where he beat Sire Du Berlais, Paisley Park and the reopposing Beacon Edge amongst others.
Gavin Cromwell’s charge recorded a good time in that Cheltenham success, outstaying Noel Meade’s runner who travelled well in to the contest but didn’t quite get home. The Yeats gelding can uphold that form here and land a third successive Grade One victory.
The application of a tongue-tie certainly seems to have helped deliver a chunk of improvement and he’s won five of eight in the headgear over three miles; while better ground has proven to be no hindrance and he’s won on both good and soft ground. He looks the one to beat here and he can land another victory to cement his claims as the champion staying hurdler.
6:00 Punchestown – Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 3m
Another hugely competitive handicap on the card and DALLAS DES PICTONS ran a big race to finish fifth behind Galopin Des Champs in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month and Denise Foster’s can build on that effort to get back on the scoresheet.
The Spanish Moon gelding looked potentially high class in his earlier career, chasing home the subsequent Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner City Island before registering a pair of impressive successes here and at Leopardstown before finishing a close runner-up in that season’s Martin Pipe Hurdle.
He went chasing thereafter and despite winning on his debut his progress plateaued quickly and he has spent this campaign back over hurdles where winter ground hadn’t been his friend until turning in an improved effort latest.
This drying ground is going to be more to his liking and from this 137 rating allied with Jordan Gainford’s 7lbs claim he looks very well treated on his best form over timber and he can deliver a big run here.
6:35 Punchestown – Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m
ENERGUMENE has looked every inch a top-class prospect in reeling off a perfect season so far with three chase wins from three starts and Willie Mullins’ charge was expected to give Shishkin plenty to think about in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham before being ruled out with a late injury.
The Denham Red gelding had reeled off impressive victories over the larger obstacles at Gowran Park, Naas and Leopardstown latterly where be demolished Franco De Port by ten lengths in the Irish Arkle and likely have better still to come he should prove very hard to beat here for his in-form yard.
That bare form has taken a few knocks, but he did the job in facile style and having missed out on a Festival engagement and Aintree he can gain some compensation here in what looks a relatively weak Grade One line-up.
Assuming three months off and the aftermath of whatever injury prevented him heading to Cheltenham haven’t taken any edge from him them he should prove a class apart to this field and he can maintain his perfect record over the larger obstacles.
7:05 Punchestown – Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed Race) (4yo+) 2m
Gauloise sets a good standard but BIGBADANDBEAUTIFUL can follow up her recent success at Navan last month and Denise Foster’s charge is likely to have plenty of scope for further improvement.
The Big Bad Bob mare showed plenty of ability in bumpers, winning three times and even managed a win on the flat at Roscommon last June before switching to hurdles this term where she’d had just one start over timber.
That came at Navan where she was value for more than the one length defeat she inflicted on De Lady In Red with the front twopulling around five lengths clear of the third and rest. She does give up considerable hurdling experience, but her bumper form is impressive with two wins at Listed level before finishing fourth in a Grade Two at Leopardstown in February.
She surely has better to come and while this is no easy task on just her second hurdles start she can improve for her debut experience over timber to make her presence felt here.
7:35 Punchestown – Grant Thornton (C & G) INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m
FORGED IN FIRE beat 2020 Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow when making a winning debut in this sphere at Leopardstown and while things haven’t worked out for him over hurdles in two starts the Presenting gelding showed up well back in a bumper at Naas in February when finishing third to Gerri Colombe in February.
That winner is a potentially high-class performer and while it is a shade disappointing that he was beaten five lengths into third by a 100/1 runner-up he remains with plenty of scope in this discipline and can improve.
He was giving away weight in that last outing which was his first in a couple of months; while the form of his defeat of Ferny Hollow stacks up well and a repeat of that should put Joseph O’Brien’s charge firmly in the mix here.