Day Three Punchestown Festival 2023

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 14:40
L P Dempsey

Broomfield Bijou

J: L P Dempsey
T: J P Dempsey
Age: 5
Weight: 11-9
OR: 118
Days: 13

The first race of the afternoon on day three of the meeting is the Specialist Group Handicap Hurdle over two miles and a horse that caught the eye was Broomfield Bijou for the Dempsey team.

Running to a fair standard on all of her runs to date, making her debut at Thurles in a bumper when six lengths behind the winner No Looking Back.

Fourth to Harmonya Maker at Fairyhouse on hurdles debut, she then put in a superb run at Naas to finish third behind Mares Novices' Hurdle third Halka Du Tabert.

Stepped up in trip to 2m 3 1/2f she put in her worst run of the season not staying the trip but since being dropped back to two miles on her last two runs she has bounced back to form.

Finishing a 1/2 length second at Navan in March, last time out she got off the mark at Ballinrobe when bolting up by nine lengths.

Making her handicap debut off a mark of 118 today makes her appealing with her having plenty of experience and the penny now seems to have dropped.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 15:15
Donagh Meyler

Call Me Lyreen

J: Donagh Meyler
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 7
Weight: 11-2
OR: 140
Days: 43

The next event of the afternoon is the Grade B Handicap Chase over two miles and we are taking a chance on a big priced horse, Call Me Lyreen.

This horse really made a name for himself at the 2022 DRF when landing the 27 runner Liffey Handicap Hurdle off a mark of 138.

Sent chasing pretty much straight after that win in May, he was a winner on his second start over fences at Kilbeggan by 44 lengths and then backed that up at Wexford next time out in another Novice Chase.

Those wins were followed by two seconds in July and August with the first placed effort coming at Galway in the Grade Three Novice Chase behind Visionarian and then at Killarney behind the talented Authorized Art.

His form fell away in September and October at the start of this season had a busy summer campaign and after those efforts he was given some time off.

Returning at the Cheltenham festival in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase, he ran a great race off a career high mark of 145, finishing seventh of 19 on what was his first run in five months.

He will strip much fitter for that experience and dropped back to his Irish mark of 140 he could play a part here at a price.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 15:50
Mr H C Swan

Stealthy Tom

J: Mr H C Swan
T: E Bolger
Age: 8
Weight: 12-3
Days: 17

The La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase over 4m2f is a race that does not appeal to every punter but we think there is a big angle into the race with the top weighted Stealthy Tom.

Enda Bolger is a master in these races and has nurtured this horse a long nicely throughout the years with him really showing signs of being a smart horse at this meeting last year when a close second in the other Cross Country Chase.

A winner over shorter off the back of that run in May at Killarney, he was then given a break until February this year where he returned at Punchestown to take the 20 runner Cross Country Chase.

Having another prep run before this event over two miles at Cork in a Handicap Hurdle, he should be bang on for this and although top weight has the profile to land this event.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 16:25
Danny Mullins


J: Danny Mullins
T: W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 152
Days: 17

The first big event of the afternoon at Punchestown on day three is the Grade One Champion Stayers Hurdle and Monkfish off the back of his return run is a serious player.

A horse that had the world at his feet before his injury setback having proved it over both hurdles and fences is now back and ready to give his challenge.

In 2019 he was ran twice, once in a bumper and once over hurdles finishing second on both occasions behind smart horses in Diol Ker and Longhouse Poet.

Since then he has gone on to be a superstar being unbeaten in three hurdle event and on both his chase starts showing clear staying ability and this term a superb jumping temperament.

Having won at Fairyhouse and at Thurles last term over large distances, he went to the Cheltenham festival and managed to stay three miles the best of the runners to just get up in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Sent chasing by Mullins in November 2020 he landed his debut at Fairyhouse with ease and used that run to improve further when managing to see off Latest Exhibition in a Grade One Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Although dropping slightly in trip when seen next time in the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival he gave his best performance of the season to land the event by 11 lengths.

It was all systems go for the Cheltenham festival and although the race fell apart the seven year old landed the event by close to seven lengths, not being overly impressive but getting the job done.

Monkfish was seen once more last time at the Punchestown festival when taking on superstar Envoi Allen and Cheltenham festival winner Colreevy and in a shock turn of events it was his stablemate Colreevy who landed the race by eight lengths.

Having been off the track for almost two years, he returned as a nine year old at Fairyhouse, running a cracker over 2m4f to finish second to a much fitter stablemate in Asterion Forlonge.

That run would have set him perfectly for this event back at his preferred three miles and if not bouncing for the long period off, he is a serious player, showing last time he retains all of his ability.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 17:00
Philip Byrnes


J: Philip Byrnes
T: C Byrnes
Age: 7
Weight: 10-9
OR: 125
Days: 82

Next up is the Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle over 2m 7 1/2f and we have played two horses at each way prices against the field starting with the Charles Byrnes trained Grozni.

A horse that bis versatile when it comes to ground having won on both good and soft ground, he holds some very smart handicap hurdle form.

A winner over course and distance in October when seeing off Coventry for trainer Paul Nolan off a mark of 109, he then headed over to England to race in a Novices' Hurdle at Plumpton where he could not give the penalty away to three other rivals.

Kept in England he then ran at Leicester at got back to winning ways narrowly giving away a penalty and that set him up perfectly for a big run at the DRF when stepped up to three miles and finishing a good second behind the smart Perceval Legallois in the Leopardstown Handicap Hurdle.

Only 4lb higher in the handicap now racing off a mark of 125, he looks as though his mark has purposely been kept down for races like this, this year and at 12/1 being a versatile course and distance winner he is worth keeping on side.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 17:00
Brian Hayes

Sir Argus

J: Brian Hayes
T: W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 10-12
OR: 128
Days: 17

At a slightly bigger price of 14/1 Sir Argus for Willie Mullins although looking the third choice on jockey bookings in the betting he looks to have a big race in him.

Getting off the mark on his second run under rules at Thurles in a bumper, he then went to Punchestown under a penalty and was beat by a smart hose in Tag Man.

On his final bumper run at Tipperary in May he bumped into the superstar Grade One winner A Dream To Share and was then put away for the season.

Returning in December for his hurdles debut he fell when looking to the winner and since then was frustrating putting up two seconds when going off at short prices.

Stepped up to 3m 1/2f at Cork last time out he got off the mark in decisive fashion and now making his handicap debut off a mark of 128 he can truly flourish.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 17:35
Paul Townend

El Fabiolo

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 164
Days: 44

The penultimate selection of the afternoon is the final Grade One event on day three with El Fabiolo looking to stay unbeaten over fences in the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase.

A serious talent for owners Simon Munir & Isaac Souede over both hurdles and fences last season he was seen three times over timber, bolting up on debut at Tramore by 13 lengths before going to the Aintree festival and finishing a neck second on just his second ever run behind Jonbon.

Sent to the Punchestown festival on his final start of the season he landed the International Novice Hurdle with ease from Ha D'or.

Always bought to be a chaser he has taken his form to a new level this term, winning by 19 lengths on chase debut at Fairyhouse and off the back of that went to the DRF.

Taking on stablemates Appreciate It, Dysart Dynamo and Joseph O'Brien's Banbridge in the Grade One Irish Arkle at the DRF, he went on to bolt up again by 10 lengths.

With that being some of the best 2m Novice Chase form on offer he went into the Arkle at the Cheltenham festival as favourite and saw off the talented Jonbon easily.

He has been the best horse in this division all season and should round off his season with another Grade One victory.

Punchestown - April 26 2023
Punchestown 18:45
Mr P W Mullins


J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 12-0
Days: 67

The final event of the afternoon sees the 2m bumper and Ballyburn could turn out to be the best of Willie Mullins bumper horses this season.

Bought for €80,000 by Ronnie Bartlett off the back of the back of comfortably winning his PTP, he then went to Punchestown for his bumper debut in February and won impressively, showing good staying ability.

Using this as another stepping stone for a big career, he should make it 2/2 under rules.