Punchestown Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle Guide

Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 15:15
5
Mr P W Mullins

Echoes In Rain

J:
 
Mr P W Mullins
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 141
Days: 23

Willie Mullins has won five of the last six renewals of this race so it’s no surprise to see that he puts down a strong hand.

He’s represented by the top two in the market although it comes as a surprise to most that 24 length Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner, Appreciate It, hasn’t been declared for the race.

His absence paves the way for another hot prospect out of the Mullins yard in the form of Echoes In The Rain who receives a 5lb fillies allowance for taking on the boys here.

Having said this, gender really shouldn’t enter the equation and punters may consider this allowance an unfair advantage given the more than impressive nature of her run last time out at Fairyhouse.

She has won three of her last four hurdle runs on ground ranging from Heavy to Yielding (Irish terminology for Good to Soft) and her most recent 15 length beating of stablemate M C Muldoon was arguably her most impressive performance to date.

She did nothing but go further clear on the run in to the line and won going away signifying a longer trip is definitely in the offing further down in what looks to be a star studded future she’ll have in the sport.

At just five years old, she’s the youngest runner in today’s field and she looks to be continuously improving.

This will be her very first taste of Grade One racing and although the early market prices clearly signify that she has the ability to be winning this race, she did only manage a fourth placed finish in heavy conditions on her only visit here so definitely has something to prove.

It is also interesting to see that last times winning jockey Paul Townend is given an alternative leg up on stablemate Blue Lord instead...

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
25/07/22GAL17Sft11-31
20/05/22CUR14Gd/Y9-72
29/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-52
15/03/22CHL20GS11-55
06/02/22LEO16Y11-53
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 15:15
1
Paul Townend

Blue Lord

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 12-0
OR: 148
Days: 42

The second Mullins runner, Blue Lord, looked nailed on for second when falling at the last in the weeks opener at Cheltenham.

Of course, he didn’t look like he had much chance against the eventual winner, stablemate, Appreciate It, however he was running a fantastic race all the same, and for that, warrants plenty of appeal here.

The six year old will of learnt from that run and with a record of one from one here at Punchestown, he will be sure to benefit once more from the flatter track and quicker ground conditions that the venue offers.

Prior to his Cheltenham run he finished six lengths behind Appreciate It at Leopardstown and with more improvement expected, he can be considered a force to be reckoned with here despite, yet again, facing off against another well fancied stable companion in Echoes In The Rain.

Leading Irish jumps jockey Paul Townend takes the ride who will be keen to be positioned on only the best rides on his run in to the end of the Irish National Hunt jockey championships season.

It would be interesting to know if he had any say in the matter on which of the Mullins runners he’ll of preferred here?

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-121
15/03/22CHL16GS11-43
05/02/22LEO17Y11-121
02/01/22NAA16Sft11-101
11/12/21FAI16Y/Sft12-01
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 15:15
4
Rachael Blackmore

Uhtred

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 6
Weight: 12-0
OR: N/A
Days: 72

Uhtred clearly has big potential having won the listed ‘Future Champions’ NH flat race as a four-year-old.

He finished a close up second prior to that run on his hurdles debut, however wasn’t to be seen again as a five-year-old.

He returned from a 14 month break to finish third (fourth not for a DSQ) in a Listed race over course and distance and has since taken another 72 day break before coming to run here at the festival.

He’s been equipped with Rachel Blackmore on board and this lightly raced gelding can look to continue his improvement once more over hurdles

He remains relatively unexposed so isn’t written off completely, however this may have come too soon and he’s likely to struggle against the top two in the market.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/07/22COR20Gd11-64
06/01/22CLO20Hy11-63
26/12/21LIM20Hy11-10F
28/11/21FAI16Gd11-126
06/11/21NAA16Y12-01
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 15:15
3
Mark Walsh

Dewcup

J:
 
Mark Walsh
T:
 
T M Walsh
Age: 6
Weight: 12-0
OR: 135
Days: 149

20 days ago Dewcup was running on the flat in what was clearly a freshener for today’s race on the back of a four month break.

Trainer Ted Walsh will have been ensuring his runner was up to full fitness ahead of the contest on his second run back.

Dewcup can be considered a course specialist here boasting form figures of 11122 on his five visits to the track.

He clearly thrives here and has great versatility in his locker, with the ability to run a big race across all varying ground conditions.

His runner-up efforts here were both over the extended 2m 4/5f distances and the drop back to his winning 2m distance is sure to suit.

In his final race prior to the layoff, Dewcup, was entered into his first Grade One, finishing fourth at Fairyhouse, eight lengths off the eventual winner, Ballyadam.

Ballyadam, who Blue Lord was on course to beat last time out at Cheltenham before falling, was the 24 length runner up to Appreciate It.

Putting that into perspective, Dewcup looks to have a bit to find here.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/11/21PUN19.5Y12-02
10/10/21CUR16Y8-118
24/09/21LIS16Gd/Y10-136
17/07/21CUR16Gd9-04
26/06/21CUR16Gd8-102
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 15:15
2
Conor Orr

Colonel Mustard

J:
 
Conor Orr
T:
 
Mrs Lorna Fowler
Age: 6
Weight: 12-0
OR: 125
Days: 23

Long shot, Colonel Mustard makes up the five runner affair who won here at Punchestown in a Ladies Pro/Am NH flat race last year.

He’s still searching for his first win over hurdles and from his three attempts, he holds form figures reading 243.

He clearly posses’ potential with his trainer happy to throw him into this Grade One contest and he managed third last time out in a Grade Two at Fairyhouse.

Despite this, this Grade One does looks fairly out of his current depth and his third placed finish last time out was a 19 1/2 length beating by none other than the market leader, Echoes In The Rain.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/22AIN20GS11-47
18/03/22CHL17GS10-113
06/02/22LEO16Y/Sft11-123
17/12/21ASC15.5GS11-02
23/10/21GAL16.5Sft12-01

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