Day Four Punchestown Festival Preview - 29/04/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 15:15
J J Slevin


J: J J Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 5
Weight: 10-12
OR: 138
Days: 43

The fourth day of the Punchestown festival sees some great racing and our first selections of the afternoon comes in the Novice Handicap Chase over 2m5f and we have two horses at prices worth following.

The first is the Joseph O'Brien trained Busselton that has been largely consistent this term in Listed, Graded and Novice company.

Running over fences nine times this season, the gelding got off the mark at the third time of asking at Listowel tackling his longest trip to date of 2m6f.

Third behind Gin On Lime at Tipperary after that he then landed back to back wins at Cork and Punchestown over 2m4f, seeing off some nice horses.

He then went to Navan and had to settle for second behind the talented Ciel De Neige and was then tried at the Dublin Racing festival back at 2m1f in the G1 Irish Arkle finishing fourth behind the likes of Blue Lord, Riviere D'etel and Saint Sam.

Busselton was last seen at the Cheltenham festival finishing a well beat second behind Bob Olinger in the G1 Turners Novices' Chase.

Now making his handicap debut off a mark of 138 he looks an attractive bet with him sure to get the trip.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 15:15
Miss M O'Sullivan


J: Miss M O'Sullivan
T: Emmet Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 10-3
OR: 127
Days: 13

Another horse that took the eye at a price in the field is the Emmet Mullins trained Rightplacerightime who looks weighted to go well if brushing up on his jumping.

The seven year old has been campaigned over both hurdles and fences this campaign, getting off the mark over fences on his third start at Fairyhouse over three miles in a Beginners Chase.

Sent back over hurdles after that looking to scoop big pots in the Grade Three Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock and then three mile Handicap Hurdle at the DRF, he ran credible races in both especially the latter finishing a narrow second off a mark of 116.

Since then he has been seen over fences chucking in some poor performances in what has looked a ploy to bring his handicap mark down.

Last time out he got back to form when second by a neck at Fairyhouse over 3m1f in a Handicap Chase off 123.

Off 127 for this event with a handy 5lb claimer on board he is effectively off 122, which is only 8lb higher than his hurdles mark and running to that level should see him in the mix.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 15:50
Mark Walsh


J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-5
OR: 152
Days: 42

The first big race of the afternoon is the Grade Two Mares Chase over 2m5f and Elimay is the one to beat in this if running to the form of her Cheltenham festival win.

The Willie Mullins trained grey has been a very consistent horse over the years and overall holds some of the best past form in the race.

Finishing second in last year's Grade Two Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham festival behind stablemate Colreevy, with the mare going on to frank the form after that beating Monkfish and Envoi Allen, it stacked up as credible form.

Elimay this term needed her first two runs to warm up, running no race at Aintree when third of four runners at Fairyhouse when second behind Mount Ida.

She bounced back to form next time out over two miles in the Listed Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas and she looked back to her best.

Primed for revenge in the Grade Two Mares' Chase at Cheltenham, she stayed on best of the pack to get up late and land the spoils.

Going up a further furlong in this event will be no issue and having beat the second favourite last time out she is the one to be on.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Rachael Blackmore


J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-5
OR: 165
Days: 45

The feature race of the afternoon is the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle and Honeysuckle will be looking to round off the season unbeaten for another term.

She has been a star for the yard over the last three or four years taking races like the Mares Hurdle and this event last year at the Cheltenham festival and three Hatton's Grace Hurdles at Fairyhouse.

Overall the Kenneth Alexander-owned seven year old has claimed 16 wins in a row, if including her point to point race aswell and this season she picked up from where she left off.

She headed to Fairyhouse on her seasonal debut in defence of her Hatton's Grace title and looking to make it three wins on the bounce in the race and in effortless style she went on to win by eight lengths.

She continued to make history next time out when comfortably landing her third straight Irish Champion Hurdle.

A strong favourite once more last time out when looking to make it back to back Cheltenham festival Champion Hurdles and three on the bounce at the March meeting, she pulled away from the field in her usual style to make it 16 in a row.

It is going to take a freakish performance from another horse to beat her in the race she took last year and having already battered all of this field, she should not be beat.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 17:00
Paul Townend

State Man

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-10
OR: 151
Days: 42

It could be a day for favourite backers at Punchestown on Friday with State Man looking the one to beat in the Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m3f.

Falling on Stable debut this term when looking the likely winner, he showed bundles of ability at Limerick next time out to win easily by 12 lengths.

Mullins last time out sent him into the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival having won five of the last 11 renewals and being a Graded horse in a handicap he went on to win well off a mark of 141.

Now being tested up in trip and in a Grade One he should show the class he has and stepping him up in trip should be no bother on pedigree.

Very exciting gelding that is still very unexposed.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 17:35
Mr P W Mullins


J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
Age: 10
Weight: 12-0
Days: 42

The penultimate selection on Friday comes in the Champion Hunters Chase over three miles and Billaway off the back of his Cheltenham win is the one to beat.

A very consistent horse but frustrating to back at the same time, Billaway was second in the Hunters' Chase at Cheltenham last year being beaten by a short head and has been campaigned fairly similar finishing second on debut at Thurles albeit needing the run and then went to Navan and landed the same race he did last year before heading to the festival.

Looking for revenge at the Cheltenham festival he came from the clouds to get up close home and pip Winged Leader on the line to land the race.

He is the most talented horse in the field and having shown staying ability a number of times and also second to Bob and Co in this race last year, he should be tough to beat again.

He needs to jump better and Vaucelet is the danger, but he could just have too much class.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 18:10
Paul Townend

El Fabiolo

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: 150
Days: 21

The final selection of the afternoon comes in the Novice Hurdle over two miles and El Fabiolo for Willie Mullins is a class above this field.

The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned gelding was bought after running twice in France, with his last run coming at Auteuil when a good third over 2m2f.

Seen just twice since moving to the Closutton maestro he bolted up on stable debut at Tramore on New Year's Day landing a Maiden Hurdle by 13 lengths.

He suffered a small setback but was last seen at Aintree against Supreme Novices' Hurdle second when beaten a neck in the Grade One Top Novices' Hurdle.

Holding G1 form and now dropping back into novice company he looks the obvious one to beat.

Bring On The Night the danger.