Faugheen is the star turn on day four of the Punchestown Festival and he looks unopposable in the Champion Hurdle at 5.30.
There are plenty of competitive heats elsewhere on the card, though, with the valuable Novice Handicap Chase at 4.20 chief amongst them.
EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase
The better ground here could improve a number of these and it should certainly suit the favourite, Mr Fiftyone, and may see a return to form for Shanahan’s Turn.
However, the place to start with any race here is with the Willie Mullins horses and we think this week’s trend of him taking home prizes courtesy of his apparent 2nd or 3rd string can continue here as we like both BLOOD COTIL and TENNIS CAP.
The former was well backed for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham, only to blunder away his chance at the first. He was clearly showing plenty at home before that contest and the longer trip here shouldn’t be an issue for him on this ground.
Tennis Cap fell here in a hurdle in 2013 and wasn’t seen on the track again until March. He has run two solid races over fences on his comeback and looks well treated based on the best of his form over the smaller obstacles.
|Blood Cotil (ew)||4.20 Punchestown||14/1||Betfred, BetVictor, Sky Bet|
|Tennis Cap (ew)||4.20 Punchestown||14/1||BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral|
Hanlon Concrete E B F Glencarraig Lady Mares Handicap Chase
The mares take centre stage in the contest that follows and Perfect Promise looks the one to beat.
We are fans of the family from which James Joesph Managan’s seven year old hails and plenty of her relatives loved decent going. There is every chance, therefore, that she can improve again today on this better surface and she looks well handicapped.
|Perfect Promise (ew)||4.55 Punchestown||6/1||Bet365, BetVictor, Betfred|
Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle
The Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at 6.05 appears hugely competitive, despite the small field. We like Alpha Des Obeaux, and it will be interesting to see if he has recovered from a nasty fall at Aintree last time out, but a safer bet could be ALTON BAY in the Novice Hurdle at 6.40.
This heat is equally as competitive in its own way, but our selection has looked hugely progressive over hurdles this season and has underfoot conditions to suit.
Pyromaniac could prove the danger in a race that has been won in the past by Artic Fire and Un De Sceaux.
|Alton Bay (ew)||6.40 Punchestown||6/1||BetVictor|