Day two of the Punchestown Festival 2017 includes a fascinating clash between the winners of two of the last three Gold Cups in the feature race at 5.30pm.
Coral Punchestown Gold Cup
Of the pair, Sizing John looks to have a massive chance of adding to his recent Cheltenham win as Coneygree will surely be a bit ring rusty after so long off. He would also prefer softer ground.
Djakadam is Sizing John’s main market rival having travelled so well for so long in the big one again this season. However, his record in these top races makes him hard to recommend at skinny odds.
All in all, we think the favourite will win and hope he does as he could be something special, but in terms of having a bet it is worth bearing in mind that this race has thrown up some surprises in the past so it might be worth chucking a few quid at CHAMPAGNE WEST and OUTLANDER.
Both were well beaten in the Gold Cup in the end, but both had had good seasons coming into that race, and this flatter track and shorter trip should suit them.
|Champagne West (ew)||5.30 Punchestown||18/1||Paddy Power|
|Outlander (ew)||5.30 Punchestown||9/1||Bet365|
Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle
The big race is preceded by a cracking novice hurdle over 3 miles which sees the return of the one-two from the Albert Bartlett as well as two other recent Festival winners.
Three of those four horses dominate the betting, but we think this race looks ripe for a shock and it is just a question of finding the right outsider to deliver it.
We tipped BON PAPA at Cheltenham and he ran no sort of race there. He may need soft ground to be at his best, but it may also be that he became unbalanced running down the hill at Prestbury Park and we are going to give him a second chance here.
Willie Mullins’ second and third strings often excel in these contests, so TIN SOLDIER is worth supporting too, whilst MOULIN A VENT could really relish the underfoot conditions and show marked improvement as a result.
It may seem odd to back three horses in such a small field, but there are rich rewards waiting if any of them do manage to pass the post in front.
|Bon Papa (ew)||4.55 Punchestown||20/1||Bet365, Paddy Power|
|Tin Soldier (ew)||4.55 Punchestown||20/1||Paddy Power|
|Moulin A Vent (ew)||4.55 Punchestown||28/1||Paddy Power|
Racing Post Champion I.N.H. Flat Race
The day’s other Grade 1 is the bumper at 6.05pm, where impressive Cheltenham winner Fayonagh returns. She did us a big favour that day when coming from last to first and looks a mare to follow. However, she is skinny odds here and we prefer SOMEDAY at the prices. He ran well at this meeting last year and represents the in-form Jessie Harrington.
Of the outsiders PALMONA BLUE is of most interest. The form of his win has been franked and he comes from a decent family.
|Someday (ew)||6.05 Punchestown||4/1||Sky Bet|
|Paloma Blue (ew)||6.05 Punchestown||20/1||Sky Bet|
Guinness Handicap Chase
The Guinness Handicap Chase is the day’s big betting heat and given the season he has had we shortlisted the two Colin Tizzard runners here despite some uninspiring form figures.
SIZING GRANITE looks the pick of the pair. He was a Grade 1 performer as a novice chaser and Tizzard will surely get him back to winning ways soon. Plenty of these are 3m or soft ground performers so this horse could have too much speed for them.
Viconte Du Noyer caused a shock at Cheltenham earlier in the campaign when upped in trip but has disappointed since. He needs to jump better here to have a chance but in previous years he has come alive in the spring.
The others to back are PEOPLES PARK who has a very shrewd handler in Tom Taaffe and the ground could be the key to him, and MR DIABLO, who we fancied for the Topham recently. He ran okay there and, again, underfoot conditions should suit.
|Sizing Granite (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||12/1||Sky Bet|
|Peoples Park (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||14/1||Betfair|
|Mr Diablo (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||12/1||Bet365|
Our tips in some of the other races on the card are:
|Milsean (ew)||4.20 Punchestown||14/1||Bet365|
|Minella Till Dawn (win)||4.20 Punchestown||11/4||Sky Bet, Paddy Power|
|Dawn Shadow (ew)||7.15 Punchestown||20/1||Sky Bet|
|The Princetonian (ew)||7.15 Punchestown||9/1||Sky Bet|