Nap of the day – Good Thyne Tara (7.15)
3.40 – Le Vagabond – JLT Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Le Vagabond goes back over hurdles for the first time since winning at Tramore almost a year ago but makes loads of appeal after chasing home his stable companion Roconga on the Flat at Cork very recently. That 10-furlong trip would definitely have been on the short side for the five-year-old and it was to his credit that he finished just in front of Sweet Company which renews rivalry here. The pair are leading contenders for this and chances can also be given to Stamp Your Feet which is proven on good ground and was a winner at Haydock last time. Bobabout might be another to consider along with Soir De Chantenay. Fridaynightlights is stiff this morning and misses out.
Exacta – 6-25 (Le Vagabond/Sweet Company)
Trifecta – 6-25-7 (Le Vagabond/Sweet Company/Stamp Your Feet)
4.15 – Potters Point – pigsback.com Nick Coen Memorial Handicap Chase – Each/Way
Potters Point made a pleasing start over fences when winning at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival and perhaps he will overcome his inexperience to go close here. He was running for the first time since early October when beating Flaviana nine days ago and should improve a little. The ground should be ideal for the seven-year-old and he is chosen ahead of Tully East which was a good winner at the Cheltenham Festival and will be on every short-list along with top-weight Hurricane Ben which had little difficulty in winning from Don’t Touch It at Fairyhouse with Neverushacon back in fourth place. British Champion jockey Richard Johnson pays his first visit to Punchestown in three years and his presence on Bold Henry is certainly noted. Third Opinion has a temperature and doesn’t run.
Exacta – 10-3 (Potters Point/Tully East)
Trifecta – 10-3-1 (Potters Point/Tully East/hurricane Ben)
4.50 – Cantlow – Friends First Cross Country chase for the La Touche Cup – Win
Cantlow will be the most popular pick. A winner over the course in November, he followed up over the banks at Cheltenham in December and ran well on two subsequent visits to the Cotswolds. Love Rory is a three-time course winner going back a few years but he certainly looks second best ahead of Treo Eile which finished runner-up to Enniskillen in the opening race of the festival on Tuesday. First Lieutenant wasn’t far off top-class at his best but he is not the force of old and was well beaten in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National last time out.
Exacta – 1-7 (Cantlow/Love Rory)
Trifecta – 1-7-8 (Cantlow/Love Rory/Treo Eile)
5.30 – Footpad – Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle – Each/Way
Footpad might just reach the frame in a wide open event. His form over two miles is not that far off the best of them and he might just play a part in this as he steps back up in trip. Fourth to Buveur d’Air in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, his last two wins have been over two miles and three furlongs at Auteuil and while they came on much more testing ground than today’s, he coped well enough with quick conditions when runner-up to Petit Mouchoir in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. Sutton Place has done nothing but impress in two wins this year and he should hold De Plotting Shed on their run at Naas in February. Five of the first six home in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival face off again and the first three that day, Nichols Canyon, Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry are separated by very little indeed and might just be worth taking on.
Exacta – 12-10 (Footpad/Sutton Place)
Trifecta – 12-10-5 (Footpad/Sutton Place/Lil Rockerfeller)
6.05 – Showem Silver – Shamrock Enterprises Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Showem Silver was pretty impressive when successful at Fairyhouse and might just defy the handicapper’s 12lbs penalty to win again. The step up in trip was certainly to his advantage as he raced clear to win as he liked 10 days ago and the extra two furlongs here should suit. Kate Appleby Shoes is one of seven runners contesting their first handicap hurdle and it will be interesting to see how she gets on as she encounters good ground for the first time. Her form reads quite well and she is worth a second look along with the likes of the British-raiders No Comment and Minella Awards. Rathpatrick is another to note and Conduct Yourself is also respected.
Exacta – 24-13 (Showem Silver/Kate Appleby Shoes)
Trifecta – 24-13-5 (Showem Silver/Kate Appleby Shoes/No Comment)
6.40 – Great Field – Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase – Win
Great Field is a law unto himself but is clearly a talented sort and should be winning here. He tends to make the odd serious error but his wins at Gowran Park, Leopardstown and Thurles were impressive and he looks ready for this step up in class. Ball D’Arc might be next best after his effort at Fairyhouse where he finished third to Road To Respect and Yorkhill. Baily Cloud was a close fourth on that occasion but he might be vulnerable as he drops back in trip. Townshend and Listen Dear represent the champion trainer but they might need to improve to figure at this level.
Exacta – 5-3 (Great Field/Ball D’Arc)
Trifecta – 5-3-8 (Great Field/Ball D’Arc/Townshend)
7.15 – Good Thyne Tara – Alanna Homes Mares Novice Hurdle – Win
Good Thyne Tara looks a fair bet in an open race. A smart bumper performer, she won on her hurdling debut at Clonmel in early February and ran a huge race when fourth to her stable companions Augusta Kate and Let’s Dance in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Fairyhouse last time. She must be open to further improvement and can turn the tables on Barra which finished just in front of her in third place at Fairyhouse and had earlier finished runner-up to Let’s Dance at the Cheltenham Festival. Both Asthuria and Awayinthewest look to have a little to find with Barra on that run at Cheltenham but they should be bigger dangers than both Pravaluguna and Ringside Humour which is surely up against it on her jumping debut.
Exacta – 3-2 (Good Thyne Tara/Barra)
Trifecta – 3-2-1 (Good Thyne Tara/Barra/Asthuria)
7.45 – Next Destination – Kildare Post INH Flat Race – Win
Next Destination looks a smart sort and should be winning. He had plenty in hand when scoring on his racecourse debut at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day and ran a big race when fourth to the ultra-smart Fayonagh and subsequent winner Debuchet in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. Catwalk King won as he liked on very different ground to today’s at Cork a month ago and he certainly rates as a danger to the selection as does Midnight Stroll which was second in a valuable bumper at Newbury. Rathcannon was a winner for Robbie McNamara on his first day with a trainers’ licence at Cork last July but he hasn’t run since and possibly the French import Sir Carno will be a bigger threat.
Exacta – 2-1 (Next Destination/Catwalk King)
Trifecta – 2-1-7 (Next Destination/Catwalk King/Sir Carno)
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