Punchestown Saturday Preview - 04/05/19

14:35 - HURRICANE DARWIN

A slightly earlier start on the final day of the 2019 Punchestown Festival - the fine major meeting over jumps for the season, begins with the Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chase.

Ballycasey has a bit to find with Josies Order from his Cheltenham exploits, but may benefit from the latter feeling a bit tired from her outing here on Thursday, when she finished third over 4m2f in the La Touche Cup.

Both carrying 12st 7lb, the Rich Ricci-owned twelve-year-old has found it hard of late to return the form he once showed in his younger days.

A regular at this venue and meeting, time to put his best hoof forward in this intriguing curtain raiser.

15:10 - REDHOTFILLYPEPPERS AND CLOUDY MORNING

Next up is the BoyleSports Handicap Chase, and although the old boy Don Poli will be the centre of attention, our eyes will be on our two selections - Redhotfillypeppers and Cloudy Morning.

Redhotfillypeppers seems to have be around forever, but has only raced twice over fences - both of which coming since Christmas.

The daughter of the late Robin Des Champs struck at Limerick before the turn of the year before a below-par third at the same venue in March.

Has excuses with the slog she came into terms with, but did win on a soft surface around these contours last February.

Ground will be on her side, as is the case for Cloudy Morning - our other pick, who has been on a roll for Declan Queally.

Several appearances in points in the last couple of years; since back racing under rules, he has finished second twice and won twice - both victories at Wexford on a yielding surface in the last month.

Hat-trick up if getting home in front here.

15:50 - BENIE DES DIEUX

Benie Des Dieux will seek redemption in the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle, after falling at the last when clear in the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Nicely poised down the side of the course, Ruby Walsh guided the eight-year-old into the lead and came to grief at the final flight in the same fashion that Annie Power (named for this race) did so back in 2015.

Paul Townend jumps aboard now as first jock to Mullins, and should be a cut above these if atoning for her Cheltenham mishap.

The one to beat again.

16:25 - FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES

Joseph O'Brien made the brave decision to send this Fakir D'oudairies to the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival, as he was well represented with the ill-fated Sir Erec in the Triumph.

Fakir D'oudairies - who had won stylishly at Prestbury Park earlier in the season which saw him purchased by JP McManus, ran his heart out in the opening race on Tuesday, finishing a good fourth in tough conditions.

Was narrowly beaten by the Triumph winner Pentland Hills at Aintree, and should go close again in this; the Grade One AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle.

Big player.

17:00 - HERON HEIGHTS

Heron Heights returns to the scene of his greatest triumph having won this race twelve months ago, and has every chance of defending his crown.

Has been off the best part of twelve months, and was last seen down the field at Ballinrobe in the May National.

Back from a break, he does seem to go well fresh and the stamina certainties are there for all to see in his pointing days.

Beat the likes of Rogue Angel and Mullins gelding Some Neck in this contest last year, and trainer and jockey have shared a good year together racing in these colours.

17:35 - OUT OF THE LOOP

Our Punchestown tips close in the Grade B Ballymore Handicap Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles, and Out Of The Loop can make a winning return for Padraig Roche and JP McManus.

Last seen at Fairyhouse completing a double of wins in February 2018, where he actually beat this year's Pertemps winner Sire Du Berlais, he looks of definite interest with a lot of tired legs in the field.

Very lightly raced six-year-old who has only competed at four different tracks in six starts has seen to get the hang of things and hopefully the break has not hindered any further progress.

Perfect opportunity to cap off what's been a fine season for Champion Hurdle winning jockey Mark Walsh.

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