It was a tough day for us on Friday at Sandown. Unfortunately Lestrade boiled over in the preliminaries and never raised a gallop. Extra Elusive ran a cracking race, but with a reduced field 3rd wasn’t enough for us to get our each way money. Alfaatik was as green as grass but he flew home at the finish. He is one to keep a close eye on. Regal Reality ran a nice race too, but not nice enough for us to collect. The Punchestown Festival kicks off on Tuesday, the last hurrah for the jumpers this season. Dave Stevos has studied the form and you can check out his Punchestown Day 1 tips below…
Punchestown Day 1 Tips: 4.20 Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
Klassical Dream is again the choice of Ruby Walsh, so it is no surprise to see him chalked up at odds on. However, back on good ground, Aramon could give him plenty to think about. He was well behind the fav last time at Cheltenham, but the soft ground was against the son of Monsun that day. It was a similar story on testing ground at Aintree last time, but he is better judged on his head defeat to Klassical Dream at Leopardstown over Xmas.
Aramon travelled like the best horse in the race that day on his favoured good ground. He looked he winner a long way out, but he hung in the closing stages and just missed out on victory. Now he is back on a kinder surface he should be capable of putting it right up to Klassical Dream again. Aramon looks overpriced at 11/1 and a small each way interest is advised.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 1 TIPS: ARAMON E/W @ 11/1
Punchestown Racing Tips: 4.55 – Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)
The one I like here at a very nice each way price is UK raider Man Of Plenty. This 10yo son of Manduro has run in exalted compamy on his last couple of runs. He was predictably outclassed in the Stayer’s Hurdle at Cheltenham last time over a trip that stretches him. However, the handicapper has played ball and Man Of Plenty is back down to a mark of 125, just 2lb higher than the rating he won off on heavy ground at Sandown (16f).
It will be very different ground at Punchestown, but that will hold no fears. This fella was an unlucky 2nd on good ground at Cheltenham before and 4 of his 6 career wins came on nice ground. He ran a mighty race here over 21f on yielding last season. So, you would imagine connections have probably lined him up for the festival again. He is in against some unexposed sorts, but off 125 he is weighted to be competitive. At massive odds an each way interest is advised.
PUNCHESTOWN TIPS: MAN OF PLENTY E/W @ 22/1 4 PLACES
Punchestown Day 1 Tips: 5.30 – Champion Chase (Grade 1)
Willie Mullins holds an extremely strong hand in this race and on the figures it looks between the top two. Min and Un De Sceaux are the two class performers in the race but the return to Punchestown could be just what Great Field needs to show his undoubted talent. The son of Great Pretender dotted up here in the Grade 1 Novice Chase last season, beating Ordinary World by 11L. Jody McGarvey’s saddle slipped too, making it an even more impressive performance.
Great Field will obviously need to jump better than he has on his last couple of runs. He fell early on his seasonal return and it was a similar story when he was in the process of running a big race at Leopardstown in December. He will be fresher than most of his rivals, he clearly likes the track and at 17/2 he could well put it up to the market leaders.
PUNCHESTOWN RACING TIP: GREAT FIELD E/W @ 17/2
Punchestown Racing Tips: 6.05– Land Rover Bumper
This very valuable bumper has attracted a very big field of 19 runners. However, form is extremely thin on the ground and those that have run haven’t exactly set the world alight. This heat does not appeal from a betting perspective. It is a race to watch with a view to the future. No bet.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 1 TIPS: NO BET
Punchestown Day 1 Tips: 6.40 – Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1)
The final Grade 1 of the day is the Champion Novice Case, a 24f contest with 60k going to the winner. Thankfully 8 horses go to post which means it is three places for each way bets. Delta Work and A Plus Tard dominate at the head of the market and they both hold strong form claims. If you are looking for one at a bigger price that could go well, Winter Escape fits the bill.
He has flopped on his last couple of starts but three runs back he beat A Plus Tard comfortably here over 20f on good ground. His last two runs were too bad to be true. However, there is no doubt that he has the talent to feature here, if he is on a going day. His dam is related to top class 3 miler Black Jack Ketchum so he should stay the trip. He has course form in the book and with Mark Walsh doing the steering he could outrun his odds of 25/1.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 1 TIPS: WINTER ESCAPE E/W @ 25/1