Day Five Punchestown Festival Preview - 30/04/22

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee

Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 14:10
E Walsh

The Dabbler

J: E Walsh
T: Liam P Cusack
Age: 9
Weight: 10-9
OR: 126
Days: 12

The first selection of the afternoon at Punchestown comes in the 3m7f Handicap Chase and The Dabbler for Liam Cusack and this nine year old will stay the trip.

A fairly consistent horse over staying trips In August off a mark of 116 he went on to win at Ballinrobe over 2m7f and then backed that up at Gowran over 2f further.

Up to 119 he was a head second at Galway and then up again in distance at Fairyhouse in the 3m5f Porterstown Handicap Chsse he was a three length second to Smoking Gun.

His last two runs have seen him be bought down and pulled up, but being still well handicapped off a mark of 126 he can't be overlooked.

No stamina issues.

Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 14:50
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 8
Weight: 11-5
OR: 154
Days: 23

The feature event of the afternoon is the Grade One Mares Champion Hurdle over 2m3f and Epatante for Nicky Henderson will take some beating.

Superb mare for connections over the years that this season has been outstanding winning the Grade One Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle, only suffering one defeat all season to Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle which she has also won in her career.

The step up in trip to 2m4f last time out looked to suit and now against her own sex there is no horse in this field that gets close to her on her day.


Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 15:25
Mark Walsh

Donkey Years

J: Mark Walsh
T: E McNamara
Age: 8
Weight: 10-10
OR: 128
Days: 12

The three mile Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase sees 14 runners go to post and the horse we are siding with is the JP McManus owned Donkey Years.

The eight year old has been in fine form of late, knocking on the door in similar races and now looks a perfect opportunity to get his neck in front.

Second in January at Thurles over 2m5 1/2f behind the smart Fakir D'Alene, he then went to Leopardstown over a similar trip and was a close third behind Discordantly, who has since franked the form.

Donkey Years put up another solid run last time out at Fairyhouse last time out when less than a length behind winner Defi Bleu when stepping up to three miles.

Still well handicapped on a mark of 128 with JP's number one rider Mark Walsh taking the ride, he should go close again.

Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 16:00
Paul Townend


J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-0
OR: 152
Days: 43

Another smart Grade One on the card is the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle and Vauban will be extremely tough to beat on his form this year.

Being bought by Rich Ricci from France after four decent runs on the flat, he was given to Mullins and made his hurdles debut around Christmas time.

He took on the ex John Gosden horse Pied Piper and went down by half a length in heavy ground, but the Gordon Elliott Juvenile went on to bolt up in a Grade Two at Cheltenham.

Vauban also franked the form next time out when taking the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and showing to have bags of pace.

He improved once more when last seen, demolishing a good field at the Cheltenham festival in the Grade One Triumph Hurdle and taking on the same horses it is hard to see them reversing the form.

Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 16:30
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Philip Hobbs
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 137
Days: 45

The final race of the day we have selections in is the 2m3f Handicap Hurdle and with a big field heading to post we have picked out two selections at each way prices and the first is the British raider Camprond for Philip Hobbs.

A smart hurdler last term when winning at Taunton and then finishing a narrow second in a 22 runner Handicap event at Aintree's Grand National meeting, he carried that on to this term.

Raced through the summer, he was given a small break and returned in September when finishing second at Stratford before going to Chepstow and winning the Grade Two Persian War Novices' Hurdle in taking style.

Sent to Cheltenham after that he was an easy winner of a three runner Novices' Hurdle and that set him perfectly for a crack at the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle.

He finished a very smart fourth of 19 behind some smart horses, also beating home some other decent animals that have gone on to frank the form.

The form of the Greatwood has been well highlighted all season and having not ran since then, keeping his mark of 140 for this, he has every chance of hitting the frame.

Saved for the Cheltenham festival in March, the ground went against him with the rain coming down but he still ran a cracker to finish fourth.

Now down 3lb for that run to a mark of 137 he could have some weight in hand and should play a part once more.


Punchestown - April 29 2022
Punchestown 16:30
B J Cooper

La Prima Donna

J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 10-10
OR: 129
Days: 14

Another horse at a price that could go well is the Willie Mullins trained La Prima Donna who is weighted to strike and looks better than her mark of 129.

The five year old mare was bought by Kenny Alexander after two good runs in France and given to Willie Mullins and on debut she finished a good second behind the smart Dinoblue on heavy ground.

In February she was going well before falling but she bounced back to form in a big way when a half length second behind Glan in a Handicap Hurdle.

She goes off 4lb higher in this event and that leaves her with a big chance.

One to follow.