The Racing Post’s David Jennings looks at the card for day two of the Punchestown Festival 2017
3.40 MARTINSTOWN OPPORTUNITY SERIES FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE
Robert Tyner was among the winner on the opening day at Punchestown and he could repeat the feat on day two thanks to Blast Of Koeman who looks seriously well-treated off a mark of 114. While the maiden hurdle he won at Limerick looked weak at the time and he was entitled to do what he did, the runner-up won next time at Tipperary and going right-handed on good ground is exactly what the doctor ordered for Blast Of Koeman. Close Shave got the job done nicely at Fairyhouse and should have more to offer, while a big run from Bilko at a huge price could come as little surprise.
1 Blast Of Koeman 2 Close Shave 3 Bilko
4.20 LOUIS FITZGERALD HOTEL HURDLE
Although recent form figures of P0 would not get you too excited, Baden could bounce back to his best here and looks the value option against Battleford and Minella Till Dawn. He was third in the race last year and that looked a stronger renewal. The classy Woodland Opera landed the spoils, top-notch staying chaser Val De Ferbet was second and behind Baden was this year’s Coral Cup winner Supasundae. Baden looked the most likely winner for a long way there and could be overpriced at around 8-1 to go two places better. Minella Till Dawn and Battleford are the obvious dangers.
1 Baden 2 Battleford 3 Minella Till Dawn
4.55 IRISH DAILY MIRROR NOVICE HURDLE (GRADE 1)
This is arguably the most fascinating showdown of the entire week with two Cheltenham Festival winners taking each other one. Albert Bartlett hero Penhill was impressive there, while Presenting Percy made a mockery of his mark in the Pertemps Final. Throw into the mix Albert Bartlett runner-up Monalee and you’ve got yourself a very tasty affair. The forgotten horse could prove to be Al Boum Photo, however. He comes here much fresher than his rivals and looked a class act when winning a Grade 2 over 2m4f at Fairyhouse earlier this month. Moulin A Vent has not lived up to expectations thus far but expect him to run better than his odds suggest.
1 Al Boum Photo 2 Presenting Percy 3 Moulin A Vent
5.30 CORAL PUNCHESTOWN GOLD CUP (CHASE) (GRADE 1)
Sizing John is unquestionably the one to beat having landed the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in fine style, but back over 3m on a right-handed track, perhaps Djakadam might be the value option at the prices. He looked for all the world that he would going to take some stopping in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham only for a desperate mistake at the second-last to halt his momentum. He has come back from Cheltenham to run big races here for the last two years and might make it third time lucky. He is certainly the value option at current prices. Coneygree does not appeal on the ground so Champagne West could sneak into the placings.
1 Djakadam 2 Sizing John 3 Champagne West
6.05 RACING POST CHAMPION I.N.H. FLAT RACE (GRADE 1)
Fayonagh was spectacular in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and could be something special but Someday, who was withdrawn from that event only hours before the race, may be able to get the better of him. The mother and daughter combo of Jessica and Kate Harrington have a superb record at Cheltenham and this is a really exciting five-year-old who got within half-a-length of Tuesday’s Grade 1 winner Cilaos Emery at this festival last year. Carter McKay ought to be able to step up on his Cheltenham showing.
1 Someday 2 Fayonagh 3 Carter McKay
6.40 GUINNESS HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE A)
All eyes will be on Willie Mullins’ French recruit Polidam who was entered in the Grand National and is obviously showing plenty at home. He could be chucked in off his mark but it is a guessing game and preference is for Rightdownthemiddle who did not appear to get home over 3m1f at Aintree on Grand National day. This trip looks ideal. A big showing from Sizing Granite is also on the cards.
1 Rightdownthemiddle 2 Sizing Granite 3 Polidam
7.15 WEATHERBYS GENERAL STUD BOOK EUROPEAN BREEDERS FUND MARES FLAT RACE (GRADE 3)
This looks a wide-open affair but the one who appeals at the prices is Jelan from the Jessica Harrington stable – a sister to Jezki whose jumping over hurdles left a lot to be desired. Her bumper form is top-notch, though, and she may have been overlooked. Mystic Theatre should go well, as can recent Fairyhouse winner Half The Odds.
1 Jelan 2 Mystic Theatre 3 Half The Odds
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