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Punchestown Festival 2018 – Day 4 Tips

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is the feature race at the Festival on Friday.

Punchestown Champion Hurdle    

And Samcro is the star turn as Gordon Elliott’s outstanding young hurdler steps out of handicap company to take on the big boys. He is also dropping down in trip in the process and if he can win this he will confirm himself as one of the best novices we have seen for many years. Hopefully he will, but his price won’t appeal much to the average punter.

With plenty of rain around this morning it will be interesting to see what the ground is like come race time and if it does soften considerably then an interesting alternative to the favourite could prove to be COQUIN MANS. This is a step up in class for Willie Mullins’ six year old, but he won really well at Fairyhouse last time out and seems to be improving. He was only beaten just over four lengths by Melon in November over this trip when giving his stablemate a few pounds and he is surely a better horse now.

Min is interesting back over hurdles, but has already run here this week. Like Supersundae, he turned up at Aintree and Cheltenham too, so it is asking a lot to go to the well again.

That leaves MELON as the other obvious threat and it is hard not to back him given the week Mullins is having. He nearly won the Champion Hurdle for us last month and Samcro will have to be at his brilliant best to beat such a solid benchmark.

Coquin Mans (ew)5.30 Punchestown 20/1Coral
Melon (win)5.30 Punchestown 10/3Paddy Power


All odds quoted are subject to change

Champion Novice Hurdle    

The Champion Novice Hurdle is the day’s other Grade 1 and, almost ridiculously, between them Mullins and Gordon Elliott account for all bar one of the runners. Look out for possible non-runners here as a number of the contenders have already run once this week including Mullins’ Getabird and Whiskey Sour.

The Mullins runner we like most, though, is SCARPETA, who was fourth for us in the Ballymore. He has a bit to find on his running with Pallasator at Fairyhouse in a Grade 2 last time out, but different tactics could be employed today in an effort to reverse that form.

Don’t rule out the non-Elliott / Mullins runner either as the lightly raced DEBUCHET has plenty of ability. He is fresher than most of his rivals and will relish the step up in trip here.

 Scarpeta (ew)6.05 Punchestown 6/1Betfair
Debuchet (ew)6.05 Punchestown 7/1Betfair


All odds quoted are subject to change

Novice Handicap Chase    

The first big betting heat of the day is the novices’ handicap chase at 4.20pm and it will be a surprise if Mullins doesn’t take this one too.

He saddles six in all and UP FOR REVIEW and KEMBOY look the pick. They both carry top weight, but Mullins has taken this race several times in recent years with horses who were high in the handicap.

The Closutton handler may have the best outsider too in BRAVISSIMO who definitely needs this step up in trip. He has a first time tongue tie to help him too.

Betfair and Betfred are both offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race.

 Up For Review (ew)4.20 Punchestown 9/1Betfair
 Kemboy (ew)4.20 Punchestown 9/2Betfair
Bravissimo (ew)4.20 Punchestown 22/1Betfred


All odds quoted are subject to change

Mares Handicap Chase    

Gordon Elliott can get one on the board at least in the Mares’ Handicap Chase, where SYNOPSIS looks totally unexposed over fences and could have any amount of improvement in her.

Synopsis (ew)4.55 Punchestown5/1Paddy PowerBetfred


All odds quoted are subject to change

Champion Hunters Chase    

The other feature race is the Champion Hunters Chase, where Uxizandre looks the class act. However, he has to prove he stays the trip and too much rain would seriously dent his hopes.

Instead, take a chance on ON THE FRINGE in the hope that he can pull off an emotional win here. He has won this race five times already and looked to show signs of a revival when fifth behind Balnaslow at Aintree last time out. Those two could easily end up battling out the finish here.

On The Fringe (ew)6.40 Punchestown16/1Betfair, Paddy Power


All odds quoted are subject to change

bet365 Classic Trial     

For those who like their action on the level, there are four races from Sandown on ITV. They include a classic trial that can hopefully go the way of ISPOLINI for the in-form Charlie Appleby.

Ispolini (ew)3.00 Sandown 4/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change