Day Two Punchestown Festival Preview - 27/04/22

James Mackie

Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 14:40
24
Shane Fitzgerald

Thanksforthehelp

J: Shane Fitzgerald
T: David Pipe
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-0
OR: 109
Days: 83

The first race on the second day of the Punchestown festival is the 2m4f Series Final Handicap Hurdle and we are siding with a British raider near the bottom of the weights.

The David Pipe trained Thanksforthehelp for owner JP McManus looks to be a very progressive five year old that could be chucked in on his handicap mark of 109.

Bought for €75,000 as a two year old, he made his debut last term in May at Southwell finishing a fair fourth in a bumper and learning a lot for the experience.

Stepped over hurdles this term in December he made a pleasing debut when third on soft ground and then behind a nice type for Dan Skelton finished second at Huntingdon.

Last time out in a good Novices' Championship Hurdle at Wincanton he was a close second behind the talented Honneur D'Ajonc.

Making his handicap debut off this lowly mark on ground he performs best on makes him a player and a bit of a handicap plot job.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
03/02/22WCN15GS11-22
14/01/22HUN16Sft11-02
27/12/21CHP16Sft10-123
04/05/21STH16Gd10-34
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 15:15
3
Kevin Sexton

Freedom To Dream

J: Kevin Sexton
T: Peter Fahey
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 133
Days: 40

Next up is the Auction Hurdle Series Final over 2m4f and the horse that takes the eye in this field is the Peter Fahey trained Freedom To Dream.

The seven year old is fairly unexposed making his rules debut in 2019 when third of nine in a bumper at Galway and then on his only other bumper start he was a better second over 2m4f behind the multiple Grade One winner Appreciate It.

Making his hurdles debut this term, he got off the mark at the first time of asking over 2m5 1/2f at Punchestown when seeing off some nice horses.

Since then he has gone on to race three more times, finishing second in a Grade Two at Limerick at Christmas behind Eric Bloodaxe in heavy ground and then went to the DRF and was a fair fourth of seven in the 2m6f Grade One behind Minella Cocooner.

Dropping down to handicap company last time out off a mark of 135, he finished a superb fourth of 23 in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham festival.

Off 2lb lower here at a track he performs well at getting his ideal ground conditions, he looks a bet.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN20Gd/Y11-104
18/03/22CHL20.5GS11-14
05/02/22LEO22Y11-104
27/12/21LIM23Hy11-52
23/11/21PUN21.5Gd/Y11-121
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 15:45
4
Nico de Boinville

Fils D'oudairies

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 143
Days: 19

Another nice event over the 2m4f distance is the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle and Fils D'oudairies for Nicky Henderson should take all the beating if performing to the same level as both his runs over hurdles this term.

A decent horse in Ireland only running over fences for O'Brien one of his best runs came in January last year when a narrow second to the smart Envoi Allen in Grade Three company.

Falling at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festival after that he was sent into a P2P under Enda Bolger and was pulled up with it looking like fences was not his forte.

Moved to Henderson, he has only been seen once to date and he was a superb second of 11 at Ascot over 2m3f when just behind the smart Unexpected Party.

Not seen since that run in January he returned at Aintree's Grand National meeting off only 2lb higher and ran the well handicapped Langer Dan all the way to the line.

Big chance again of 3lb higher.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/22AIN20GS11-42
22/01/22ASC19.5Sft11-72
30/04/21PUN21Y11-0F
18/03/21CHL20.5GS11-3F
07/02/21LEO21.5Sft11-125
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 16:20
11
Paul Townend

The Nice Guy

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 153
Days: 40

The first Grade One event of the afternoon is the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle over three miles and The Nice Guy was emphatic at the Cheltenham festival and we can't see any of these horses reversing that form.

The seven year old has had a very strange season making his rules debut in a bumper in November at Fairyhouse over two miles, when winning easily.

He landed another bumper over Christmas at Leopardstown beating a nice horse in Dorans Weir that has gone on to frank the form.

Stepped up in trip and sent over hurdles, he took to the task well over 2m3f, pulling away from a nice type to win by eight lengths.

Once again, he was last seen stepped up in trip and grade tackling three miles for the first time and he revelled in the distance, seeing off a superb field of 16 in the Grade One Albert Bartlett to win easily again.

Apparently this horse shows very little at home and saves everything for the track and it is hard to see any of these horses reversing the form if in the same mood.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-101
18/03/22CHL24GS11-81
30/01/22NAA19Gd/Y12-01
29/12/21LEO16Y/Sft12-21
27/11/21FAI16Gd12-21
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 16:55
2
Paul Townend

Allaho

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 176
Days: 41

One of the feature events of the entire festival is the Punchestown Gold Cup and Allaho for Willie Mullins could be seriously tough to beat if finally staying this three mile trip.

The gelding was arguably the most impressive winner of the entire 2021 Cheltenham festival when landing this Grade One, making all from the front in eye catching fashion.

The build up of pace set by Rachel Blackmore on board that day had each and every rival slowly crumbling away and the manner by which he took every fence made it a coming of age performance.

Having been a smart hurdler, finishing third in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle back in 2019, he was sent chasing the next season and took some time to really find his form, but his narrow third in the Grade One RSA Novices' Chase was a big step forward

It wasn't until last season that he properly matured and was a horse to take notice of, finishing a good fourth in the three mile Savills Chase at Christmas and off the back of that was finally dropped back to his preferred 2m4f.

He went to Thurles in January 2021 where he saw off stablemate Elimay with ease to land the event by an eased down three lengths.

This set him up perfectly for last years Cheltenham festival where he gave the performance of the season to win the event by a clear 12 lengths.

Allaho finished off last term at the Punchestown festival when stepping down to two miles against stablemate Chacun Pour Soi and although running a big race had to settle for second, not having enough speed for the trip.

The eight year old returned this term in the Grade One John Durkan Chase and from the front went on to see off a superb field of runners.

The form of that race has worked out fairly well and Allaho franked that next time out when winning the same race at Thurles he did before taking the Ryanair last year.

He made it back to back wins in the Cheltenham Grade One last time out winning by 14 lengths eased down, being in a different league to the field.

Allaho now steps up to three miles having not stayed the trip as well as 2m4f and if in the same form as he has been the last few season he has the best chance of winning.

The flat track should play to his strengths and he is now a much more mature horse.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-101
17/03/22CHL20.5Sft11-101
23/01/22THU20.5Gd/Y11-121
05/12/21PUN20.5Y/Sft11-121
27/04/21PUN16Y12-02
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 17:30
3
Mr P W Mullins

Facile Vega

J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 12-0
OR: N/A
Days: 42

The final Grade One of the afternoon is the Punchestown Champion Bumper and we have two Willie Mullins trained horses that we believe will not be out of the first three.

The first is the superstar Facile Vega who has the least to prove in this race having been seen winning three times in all of his starts to date, last time out in Grade One company.

Beautifully bred out of six time Cheltenham festival winner Quevega and Walk In The Park, he made his rules debut on Boxing Day at Leopardstown when easily seeing off a good field by six lengths.

He massively improved for that run when next seen in the Dublin Racing festival landing the Grade Two Future Stars bumper by 12 lengths, showing a turn of foot rarely seen so early on in a horses career.

The gelding then confirmed his ability when taking the Grade One Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival in heavy ground, beating rival American Mike

Facile Vega has the world at his feet and it is going to take a freakish performance to beat him, if he runs anywhere near the level as his latest successes.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y12-01
16/03/22CHL16.5Hy11-51
05/02/22LEO16Y11-111
26/12/21LEO16Sft11-111
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 17:30
6
Miss J Townend

Redemption Day

J: Miss J Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 12-0
OR: N/A
Days: 42

At an each way price is Redemption Day for Willie Mullins with this horse only being seen twice in his life so far, and having been extremely taking on debut, he can be forgiven for his latest run.

Racing over Christmas at Leopardstown, he looked all speed and under Patrick Mullins drew clear at Leopardstown with ease.

He saw off Music Drive that day who won well next time out to frank the form.

Last seen in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival the heavy ground went against him and he ran no race.

Back on a quicker surface he should give a better account of himself and resume his progress.

Big each way player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y12-02
16/03/22CHL16.5Hy11-513
28/12/21LEO16Sft12-21
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 18:05
3
Mark Walsh

Ciel De Neige

J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-1
OR: 149
Days: 39

Willie Mullins is set for a superb day at Punchestown on day two and it could be topped off by Ciel De Neige landing the 2m5f Handicap Chase.

The seven year old has been a stellar horse for connections over the years, being a smart hurdler finishing a narrow second in a Betfair Hurdle.

Sent over fences this term he has turned into a much more consistent horse, landing a hat-trick on his three starts at Thurles, Navan and Punchestown beating horses like Busselton, Crosshill and Fire Attack.

Stepped up to Grade Three company last time out at Thurles he was a nose second to French Dynamite just getting headed late on.

Making his handicap debut in this event off a mark of 149 could see him still well in with the handicapper and having won at the track before he looks a typical winner of this event.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/03/22THU18Gd11-82
13/02/22PUN16Hy11-121
18/12/21NAV20Gd/Y11-91
25/11/21THU18Gd12-01
02/11/21FAI20Y11-122
Punchestown - April 26 2022
Punchestown 18:45
11
Mr Pat Taaffe

The Model Kingdom

J: Mr Pat Taaffe
T: Noel Meade
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-11
OR: N/A
Days: 157

The final runner of the afternoon that goes for us is the Noel Meade trained The Model Kingdom who looks to have a big chance stepping up to Grade Three company.

Seen twice in her short career to date, she won easily on debut at Galway in soft ground and last time out saw off Harmonya Maker at Navan in a Listed event on good ground.

Being versatile when it comes to ground is a bonus and the way she pulled away from the field last time out was effortless and she could run well against the field.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y11-111
21/11/21NAV16Gd11-81
24/10/21GAL16Sft11-01

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