Punchestown Thursday Preview - 02/05/2019

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15:40 - PUT THE KETTLE ON

Put The Kettle On kicks off Day Three of the Punchestown Festival in the JLT Handicap Hurdle over two miles, looking to rediscover the winning touch.

She finished a useful third on handicap debut at Gowran Park over further so the drop back to this distance could be considered a plus.

The five-year-old won her maiden from Gypsy Island at Navan in November, a horse who can boost the form on Wednesday afternoon.

Put The Kettle On - a strong candidate for the Thursday opener.

16:15 - MOON OVER GERMANY

Moon Over Germany came to life when running away with the Grade Three Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree a few weeks ago, providing another big race win for Rachael Blackmore.

The minimum trip of two-miles definitely seems fit for the eight-year-old, who also loves the soft ground, and has struggled of late on good surfaces.

Third here to Getabird in December in a Beginners Chase, and has improved stoutly since then. Can progress even further with another victory in this for owner Philip Reynolds.

Davy Russell nabs the ride for Henry De Bromhead.

16:50 - SIZING COAL

Any Grand National distance race is usually tough to predict unless your name is Tiger Roll, but Sizing Coal is our selection for the Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase over the mouthwatering four miles and two furlong trip.

He has not raced over three miles since finishing a really good third in the Madra Irish Dog Foods Handicap Chase at this meeting a couple of years ago over four furlongs less than this event, but since then has progressed into a fine stayer.

Game must be upped of course however now racing over four miles not three, but his second to Ucello Conti suggested a return to this marathon in the future which connections have now opted for.

Won a couple of points as well in the last twelve months, as the Coddfather jumps aboard. Sit tight.

17:30 - BAPAUME

Favourite for the Punchestown Stayers Hurdle, Bapaume arrives after rallying late to finish fourth in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, adding to his fine string of placed finishes.

He was second to Presenting Percy in the Galmoy Hurdle, though that form has not worked out, nor his third to Apples Jade in the Christmas Hurdle.

On that evidence, you could suggest this is a very weak looking Grade One which is open to the taking, but Bapaume has won at this meeting before - in 2017 taking the Four Year Old Hurdle, so clearly demands respect.

Tongue tie goes on, and a big player.

18:05 - BEN BUTTON

Ben Button had been in excellent form in handicaps for trainer Willie Mullins and owner Martin McHale - colours that should not be confused with Godolphin, until a lengthy absence has kept him out for almost eighteen months.

His fourth in a hot handicap at Gowran in September of 2017 when we last saw him did end his good winning spell but was not without credit - in fact finishing just a head behind subsequent National second Magic Of Light.

He had won over the summer at the likes of Listowel, Sligo and Galway and the Festival in late July/early August is surely on the agenda again if coming through this.

Campaign can take a nice start, and a good effort will be expected.

18:40 - DEFI DU SEUIL

Top juvenile Defi Du Seuil has now found his path over fences, and recorded back-to-back Grade One victories at Sandown and Cheltenham latest.

One of the best backed favourites of the week, he took the JLT Novices Chase at the Festival in excellent style under Barry Geraghty, form that has been boosted since with the wins of Lostintranslation and Kildisart at Aintree.

The drop to two would be the only concern, but if speed is still one of his prized assets, he will be hard to stop.

Defi Du Seuil for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson will fly the flag for the Brits int he Ryanair Novice Chase.

19:15 - BLACK TEARS

Black Tears close our tips in the penultimate race - the Listed Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle over the bare two miles, and Gordon Elliott has had this one going the right way for a while.

She has solid recent form in graded company - finishing fifth at Fairyhouse to the classy Honeysuckle, and fourth to Eglantine Du Seuil at Cheltenham.

A run of four seconds came to an end with a victory at the Irish National venue before the Festival in March, which was comfortable for her.

Drop in class will suit, and she should be in the firing line.

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