Fresh from picking 3 winners yesterday, David Jennings of the Racing Post turns his eye to Friday’s Punchestown card!
3.40 KFM HUNTERS CHASE
All eyes will be on the sprightly veteran Shin A Vee who is attempting to win this race again at the age of 14 but it could be worth siding with the more youthful Pass The Ball. The Boots Madden-trained eight-year-old spent over two years on the sidelines but looked better than ever when winning a Bellergan Park point by a wide margin recently under today’s rider. Enniskillen, a winner earlier in the week, should be involved at the business end as well.
1 Pass The Ball 2 Enniskillen 3 Shin A Vee
4.20 EMS COPIERS NOVICE HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE A)
Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power can do no wrong right now and Woodland Opera can continue their hot streak. You sense this has been the plan for the son of Opera Hat since he won over hurdles at this meeting last year. His jumping was flawless when he won his beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse last time and he arrives here a lot fresher than most of his rivals. He has a touch of class too. Diamond King has his optimum condition and will not be easily brushed aside, while Arbre De Vie is also interesting.
1 Woodland Opera 2 Diamond King 3 Arbre De Vie
4.55 HANLON CONCRETE EUROPEAN BREEDERS FUND GLENCARRAIG LADY MARES HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE B)
Slowmotion has already won three times over fences this season and is a worthy favourite here, but perhaps last year’s winner Definite Ruby might be the one given that she is only asked to race off a 4lb higher mark. She has enjoyed a fruitful campaign and the marathon trip in the Ulster National at Downpatrick last time looked too far. She looks rock solid.
1 Definite Ruby 2 Slowmotion 3 Keppols Queen
5.30 BETDAQ PUNCHESTOWN CHAMPION HURDLE (GRADE 1)
it could be worth giving Brain Power another chance to prove himself as a genuine Grade 1 performer. As a raw novice on his last trip to Punchestown he took third in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, one spot behind Petit Mouchoir and seven and a half lengths ahead of Yorkhill, albeit a below-par Yorkhill. He wasn’t man enough for it back then. But Brain Power became a man this winter, winning hot handicaps at Sandown and Ascot before being sent off 13-2 for the Champion Hurdle. He stopped very quickly there and was blatantly not himself, but he has never been at his best going left-handed and I don’t think he enjoyed all the turns at Cheltenham. His last four wins have been on right-handed tracks and the race is sure to be run to suit today with Petit Mouchoir likely to force a frantic pace. You have to wonder whether My Tent Or Yours, Vroum Vroum Mag or Arctic Fire are as good as they once were and Brain Power could be the big improver in the line-up. He deserves another chance to prove himself.
1 Brain Power 2 Vroum Vroum Mag 3 Arctic Fire
6.05 TATTERSALLS IRELAND CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLE (GRADE 1)
Walsh has stayed loyal to the star mare Let’s Dance in the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle (6.05) and you can certainly see why, but the forgotten horse of the race may be Kemboy. He belied his inexperience to take fifth in the Neptune at Cheltenham, despite being trapped out wide throughout, and could have more to offer. He has had a light campaign too, something that cannot be said for almost all of his opponents.
1 Kemboy 2 Let’s Dance 3 Outspoken
6.40 STAR BEST FOR RACING COVERAGE CHAMPION HUNTERS CHASE
What an ovation On The Fringe would get if he bounced back to win this race again. However, he backed up a below-par effort at Cheltenham with an even worse one at Aintree where he was pulled-up. Perhaps he is not the force of old and is worth taking on with recent Fairyhouse winner Maple Mons. Balnaslow is likely to give his usual solid display too.
1 Maple Mons 2 Balnaslow 3 On The Fringe
7.10 DONOHUE MARQUEES NOVICE HURDLE
Ruby Walsh had some tricky decisions to make and I have a feeling he’s got a few wrong. He has opted for Riven Light but I prefer Patrick Mullins’ mount Montalbano, who has a big engine and looked more manageable at Fairyhouse last time. If tucked in on this occasion, he could prove a tough nut to crack. Avenir D’Une Vie is likely to come on a ton for his return to action at Fairyhouse and should have plenty to offer.
1 Montalbano 2 Avenir D’Une Vie 3 Riven Light
7.45 GVA DONAL O’BUACHALLA PROPERTY ADVISORS FLAT RACE
Jamie Codd has had a terrific week and he could add another winner to his account thanks to It’s All Guesswork who should be more at home on this quicker ground than he was at Leopardstown last time. His debut display over hurdles was very eyecatching. Stowaway Forever has ability and will go close, while Moyross should sneak into the placings.
1 It’s All Guesswork 2 Stowaway Forever 3 Moyross
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