Cue Card was the latest star turn to get beaten at Punchestown yesterday, and although Douvan has trodden a similar path by appearing (and winning) at both of the other big spring festivals it is hard to see him going the same way here, such is his superiority over his peers.
Ryanair Novice Chase
However, our tactic of taking on the short priced favourites in the big races has paid handsome dividends so far, so we have enough ammunition in the bank to roll the dice again here.
The two who could give the favourite most to do are THE GAME CHANGER, who has just about looked the second best two mile novice around and relishes this better ground, and BALTIMORE ROCK, who surely has more to offer over fences and comes here a spring horse.
|The Game Changer (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||14/1||Bet365|
|Baltimore Rock (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||40/1||Bet365|
Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
Another winner at both Aintree and Cheltenham Thistlecrack, sadly misses the Champion Stayers Hurdle through injury and that should leave the door open for the horse who finished a clear second best in the World Hurdle, Alpha Des Obeaux. He is short enough in the betting, though, and with the bookies paying three places there is value to be had with a couple of outsiders.
It is interesting that ONE TRACK MIND has been targeted at this race since his last run nearly ten weeks ago. He is very highly regarded by a trainer who won the World Hurdle last season with Cole Harden.
The other one to be one is IF IN DOUBT who was hugely unlucky in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and followed that up with a fast finishing third at Aintree in another valuable handicap. The track was probably a bit sharp for him there and if there is a decent end to end gallop here he could be a real threat as all he does is stay.
|One Track Mind (ew)||5.30 Punchestown||11/1||Bet365|
|If In Doubt (ew)||5.30 Punchestown||12/1||Bet365, Betfred|
Murray Spelman Handicap Hurdle
If In Doubt goes for the Grade 1 instead of the 3m handicap hurdle that follows, where another horse that ran in that Aintree Handicap could run well – AT FISHERS CROSS.
It is a case of role reversal for him and If In Doubt as until recently it had been At Fishers Cross contesting the Grade 1s. However, his form has been poor recently – although the Liverpool run did hint at a revival. If he can build on that here he may outclass these.
The other two to back are the Willie Mullins pair of BURGAS and HAYMOUNT.
Forget the “P” in the form of Burgas as he was still travelling well in a listed contest at Fairyhouse last time out before being knocked into by a rival.
Haymount has always looked likely to be suited by a step up in trip and will relish the better ground.
|At Fishers Cross (ew)||6.05 Punchestown||16/1||Bet365, Paddy Power|
|Burgas (ew)||6.05 Punchestown||20/1||Bet365|
|Haymount (ew)||6.05 Punchestown||11/1||Bet365|
Setanta Sports Mares Novice Hurdle
Mullins can end the day with a double as he has strong claims in both of the concluding contests.
In the Mares Novice Hurdle, his newcomer from France, RIA D’ETEL, is the one to be on. She looks to have a horse in the same ownership, Missy Tata, to beat.
|Ria D’Etel (ew)||7.15 Punchestown||9/2||Bet365|
Kildare Post (C & G) Flat Race
In the bumper, INVITATION ONLY could be a bit special and looks hard to oppose.
Ironically, the chief threat from amongst those at bigger prices could come from another Mullins runner, TURCAGUA, who ran okay on his comeback in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and should strip fitter here.
|Invitation Only (win)||7.45 Punchestown||5/4||Paddy Power|
|Turcagua (ew)||7.45 Punchestown||20/1||Bet365, Paddy Power|
Our tips in the other races are:
|Joshua Lane (ew)||3.40 Punchestown||9/1||Bet365|
|Crown Theatre (ew)||3.40 Punchestown||20/1||Bet365, Paddy Power|
|Here For The Craic (ew)||3.40 Punchestown||14/1||Bet365|
|Rock The World (ew)||4.15 Punchestown||9/2||Bet365, Paddy Power|
|Gentleman Duke (ew)||4.15 Punchestown||12/1||Bet365|
|Quantitativeeasing (ew)||4.50 Punchestown||9/2||Bet365|