Un De Sceaux’s spectacular win was the undoubted highlight on Day 1. Great Field tried to go with the front two but capitulated late on. Man Of Plenty ran a great race to grab 3rd but his jockey weighed in light and was disqualified. Hopefully you still got paid. Aramon never jumped or travelled on the rain softened ground, while a couple of shuddering jumping errors cost Winter Escape any chance of figuring. The ground is likely to be easy on Wednesday after a fair spill of rain. Dave Stevos has had his head in the form book, check out his Punchestown Day 2 tips below…
Punchestown Day 2 Tips: 3.40 Handicap Hurdle (95-123)
The one that looks interesting at a price here is The Jam Man. County Armagh handler Ronan McNally trains this 6yo son of Papal Bull. The Jam Man had a fruitful 2018, winning five handicap hurdles. His streak started off on soft ground at Catterick (soft) off a mark of 80 over 26f. His last win came over today’s trip of 21f at Southwell by 4L on good ground off 115.
The form of that last win isn’t bad at all and McNally’s charge is just 3lb higher here. His chasing career never took off, but he shaped as though he was coming to hand when 3rd in a flat maiden on soft at Tipperary less than a week ago. His jockey, Paul O’Brien, has won plenty of races and he was 3rd on Killaro Boy in this race last year. This looks his trip, underhoof conditions look ideal and at 25/1 The Jam Man has to be worth chancing each way in an open race.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 2 TIPS: THE JAM MAN E/W @ 25/1 5 PLACES NB
Punchestown Day 2 Tips: 5.30 – Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
The previous two races do not appeal as betting heats, but this 24f Grade 1 Novice certainly does. The first three home in the Albert Bartlett lock horns again and unsurprisingly, they dominate the betting. Commander Of Fleet looks the value of the three principals at 4/1. However, with four places each way available with Skybet, School Boy Hours has the potential to take the step up in class in his stride with ground to suit. He ran out an easy winner at Cork last time (20f sft) and the runner up franked the form next time out.
He was admittedly beaten when falling two out on his previous start, but that was on good to yielding. It was similar ground when he was 3rd at Naas, so it could be that soft ground is key for him. School Boy Hours is a Presenting half brother to the ill fated top class performer Finians Oscar, so he is bred to be a Graded horse. The one chink in his armour has been his jumping, but the step up in trip should help him in that department. If the any of the three market leaders misfire he could pick up the pieces. At odds of 22/1 a small each way bet is the way to go.
PUNCHESTOWN RACING TIP: SCHOOL BOY HOURS E/W @ 22/1 4 PLACES
Punchestown Racing Tips: 6.05 – Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1)
Eight will go to post for the blue riband race of the week, the Punchestown Gold Cup. This Grade 1 contest has attracted a stellar field and Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo is the one to beat. However, Kemboy won in scintillating style at Aintree and he will put it right up to the Cheltenham hero. Bellshill looks too short at 5/1 especially after flopping at Cheltenham. He could easily bounce back, but at the prices I think Definitly Red could give each way backers a run for their money.
Brian Ellison’s charge was quietly fancied by his trainer for the Gold Cup, but fate intervened and he was brought down. He skipped Aintree so he will be fresher than most and he has plenty of ability. Soft ground will really suit him and the four time Grade 2 winner will also enjoy the trip. He has often made all, but he doesn’t have to. If he can avoid misfortune during the race, Definitly Red could sneak 3rd spot. At odds of 33/1 he is the each way pick.
PUNCHESTOWN TIPS: DEFINITLY RED E/W @ 33/1
Punchestown Racing Tips: 6.40– Conyngham Cup Bumper (Grade 1)
Bumpers are not usually my cup of tea but this one is an exception. Only ten horses will go to post and Champion Bumper 4th Abacadabras is the favourite. Embittered got closer to Envoi Allen when they met at Leopardstown than the Elliott horse did at Cheltenham and at 5/1 he could go well. The mare, Santa Rossa, ran a really nice race at Aintree but the rain that has come may not suit her. Both her bumper wins came on good ground.
One horse that looks sure to appreciate the return to easier ground is Mt Leinster. Patrick Mullins rides this son of Beat Hollow and he has plenty of experience. His sole run on ground without good in the description resulted in a 22L win at Ballinrobe. He has run well in defeat on his four starts since, all on good to yielding. He has over a length to find with Golden Spread on their clash at Fairyhouse last time. However, on softer ground I think he can turn the tables. At odds of 15/2, Mt Leinster is the each way NAP of the day.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 2 TIPS: MT LEINSTER E/W @ 15/2 NAP
Punchestown Day 2 Tips: 7.10 – Handicap Chase (Grade A)
The final race in our preview is the 20f Guinness Handicap Chase. This Grade A contest has attracted a field of 13 and a case can be made for many. With the ground likely to be on the easy side, a chance is taken on Oscar Knight. This 10yo son of Oscar ran a decent race in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and he is capable of being competitive off a mark of 135. In fact, this will be his first chase start of the season, so it could be that connections were protecting his mark for this.
He was a fine 3rd behind St Patrick’s Park for Tom Mullins in this race at the festival last year. That effort came off 136 and he is now a pound lower. The ground will be slightly slower here and that will be to his advantage. He also won his maiden hurdle at Punchestown, so he clearly likes the track. Jody McGarvey gets the leg up and if first time cheekpieces sharpen up his jumping, Oscar Knight could be a force to be reckoned with. At odds of 20/1 he is the each way suggestion in what looks an open contest.