Who To Follow On Day Five At The Punchestown Festival

Horse To Follow - The Shunter

The Grade B Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f sees a huge field of superb runners heading to post, with plenty of familiar faces and The Shunter could just be a class above.

The gelding has been one of the stories of the season for shrewd Irish trainer Emmet Mullins and now drops back over hurdles after some smart chase performances.

The eight year old has been a fine servant for the yard this season, over both hurdles and fences and off the back of his last run at the Cheltenham festival he deserves his chance in this company.

Frequently raced this term, his first stand out win of the season came at Cheltenham in the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle, when bolting up over two miles.

Still on a nice mark over fences he was sent to the Dublin Racing Festival in the Matheson Handicap Chase and he finished a staying on third of 20 runners.

Not afraid of travelling this horse, Mullins took him next to Kelso for the Morebattle Hurdle, where the winner of the race would have a chance of a £100,000 bonus if going on to win the race and then at the Cheltenham festival.

Having stayed on well to take that race in Scotland, he was then sent into the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham festival over 2m4f and under a superb ride by 7lb claimer Jordan Gainford he took the event.

He is versatile with ground and has shown he stays this trip well, and with that in mind he was sent to Aintree in the Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase over 2m4f.

He finished a narrow second behind Protektorat and if it was not for his jumping he would have surely gone much closer.

Now back over hurdles off a 10lb lower mark than he last ran off over fences he can not be dismissed and looks a big player.

Trainer To Follow - Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins has been the main man this week across the five days landing nearly half of the winners across the entire meeting to date.

On Saturday he will be looking to finish with a flurry of winners and he has some big chances to do so starting with Concertista in the Champion Mares Hurdle over 2m4f.

Another interesting runner on the day comes in the Mares Handicap Hurdle and Klassy Kay is a course and distance winner that could be on a very workable mark.

Mullins from his last 16 runners has gone on to have six winners which sees him running at a strike rate of close to 40%, which is remarlable.

Jockey To Follow - Mark Walsh

Finally, the jockey to follow on the final day of the festival is JP Mcmanus' main rider Mark Walsh who has a handful of smart rides on Saturday.

The Irishman starts the day off on board 2019 Gold Cup second Anibale Fly who drops into handicap company looking for a resurgence in form.

His best chance on the day however comes from The Shunter in the Handicap Hurdle, being 10lb lower than his rating over fences which could see him well handicapped.

Walsh is currently running at an 11% strike rate having had two winners from his last 19 rides and he will be looking to add to that on Saturday.

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