Punchestown Festival Day Four Preview

Punchestown Festival Day Four Preview

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The 2018 Punchestown Festival enters it’s penultimate day with the Champion Hurdle and the Mullins/Elliott Champion trainer tussle headlining an action packed card…

What a day we have in store at Punchestown this Friday. Ballymore Novices Champion Samcro lines up with the older boys for the first time in the Champion Hurdle along with the Mullins Elliott battle to be crowned Champion trainer nearing a nail biting conclusion. But to kick off we’ll take a look at the KFM Hunters Chase.

15:40 – KFM Hunters Chase For The Bishopscourt Cup

In what looks to be a fairly competitive Hunters Chase, we’ve gone for the proven 7-year-old filly DAS MOOSER. One win from two races as a point to pointer, she carried that form into the rules circuit as she chased away to an eight length victory in this race last year. She hasn’t run since but it clearly looks as though she has been aimed at this race and we’re really struggling to see past her.

16:20 – EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase

The opening handicap of the day sees a €59,000 prize up for grabs with Mullins and Elliott dominating the top of the market. However, we’ve gone for a horse out of Jessica Harrington’s yard and that horse is A SIZING NETWORK. Quite notably the freshest horse in the declared field of 19, he has excelled in handicaps over the extended two and a half miles. His last win came at Punchestown back in October and it did so with relative ease cantering away to a nine length victory. Now up 9lbs from that run and in a field with far more quality, it will be a big ask. But we can’t help but look into just how impressive he was here in October and if he manages to stay out of trouble, we believe he’ll run far better than his 11/1 odds suggest.

16:55 – Hanlon Concrete Irish Ebf Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase

A Grade B Handicap, the Hanlon Concrete Irish Ebf Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase is definitely a contender for one of the longest race names in the sport. With just one of the 16 runners coming into the race off the back off a victory, that been bottom weight Kilganer Queen, we’re going for the Oliver Sherwood trained filly GOT AWAY to claim his second victory for his relatively new yard. After falling on English debut when she looked set to mount a strong challenge to Saint Calvados, she followed it up in impressive style with victory in the listed Charnwood Forest Mares’ Chase. She was then pulled up next time out back over two and a half miles at Huntingdon. Now 4lbs better off on her Irish handicap mark compared to her British one, she could cause a real shock to her Irish counterparts.

17:30 – Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Well well well, what a race we have in store to be crowned Punchestown Champion Hurdler. Samcro steps up to take on the big boys for the first time with the likes of Melon, Supasundae and last years winner Wicklow Brave standing in his way of glory. It is undoubtedly a tough race to tip with many people having their favourites but we’re going for Mullins to reign supreme once again but this time with MELON. He was heavily backed in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham where he got beat by a neck to the highly rated Buveur D’Air and we expect him to go one better here. He has in the past been relatively hard to back considering he’s been a beaten favourite in three of his last seven runs but we can’t help but think that he may have turned a corner after that run at Cheltenham. Many will question why we haven’t gone with Samcro, and that’s understandable. However he’s back over two miles now which he no doubt suits just as much as two and a half miles but we believe this may just be a big step up to soon for the four-year-old, especially if Melon is going to improve from that run against Buveur D’Air.

18:05 – Profile Systems Champion Novice Hurdle

This years Champion Novice Hurdle sees a field of 12 go to post at Punchestown with five of them having already run this week. Blow By Blow, Cartwright, Delta Work, Getabird and Whiskey Sour have all run in their respected races this week so there is no surprise we’re looking to avoid them. Instead we’ve gone for the Margaret Mullins trained DEBUCHET. Second to the late the Fayonagh in last years Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, this five-year-old is yet to get off the mark over hurdles but we believe this race could just pan out perfectly for him. Bar the maiden which he finished fourth in on his hurdling debut, he’s finished behind the likes of Samcro and Summerville Boy, two top quality novice hurdlers. Having not raced since the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, he’s had a seven week break and will no doubt be out to prove a point and try to live up to the potential his bumper career suggested he’d have.

18:40 – Star Best For Racing Coverage Champion Hunters Chase

Now for the second Hunters Chase of the day and we’re backing Rose Loxton’s new recruit CAID DU BERLAIS. Since Mrs Loxton took over the training of the horse in 2017 from Paul Nicholls, he’s finished fifth in the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham. That was his first appearance since his two appearances at Cheltenham in 2017 but now fresh and off 6lbs lighter than his mark in the UK, he could mount a serious challenge to the likes of Balnaslow and Uxizandre.

19:10 – Salessense International Novice Hurdle

The penultimate race of the penultimate day of Punchestown. A race that JP McManus likes a lot, we’ve gone for his well fancied SHADY OPERATOR. Bumper winner and now one win from three races over hurdles, he finished a hard fought second behind Sharjah back in November and now refreshed after a 153 day break and over his more suited two miles, he looks as though he will take some beating.

19:45 – GVA Donal O’Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race

Bumpers are notoriously hard to pick a winner from but we think we’ve found a little dime in the Noel Meade trained FIRST APPROACH. A point to point winner last year, he’s yet to get off the mark in bumpers however he has put in two immensely impressive runs with him finishing best last time out to finish two lengths behind Rapid Escape in third. Now with an extra two furlongs to tackle, the step up in trip will suit him to a tee and at an opening price of 7/2, he could turn out to be value of the day.

New Customer Offer. T&Cs Apply 18+

New Customer Offer. T&Cs Apply 18+