Day 2 was a disaster for us from a punting point of view with none of our selections hitting the frame. In fact, quite a few of them didn’t even finish and it was definitely one of those days. The retirement of Ruby Walsh dominated the headlines at Punchestown after his spectacular win on Kemboy. He has always come across as a pretty miserable so and so, but there is no denying his talent. At least we won’t have to worry about him beating us today! If you have any money left after the first two days, you should check out Dave Stevos’ Punchestown Day 3 tips below.
Punchestown Day 3 Tips: 3.40 Handicap Hurdle (88-123)
The Jam Man wasn’t given the best of rides for us in yesterday’s opening handicap hurdle. However, our selection for this race won’t lack for assistance from the saddle. Philip Enright is one of the most underrated jockeys in the weigh room and he could get a good tune out of Masterstonemason in this. Trained by Limerick based handler Flan Costello, this son of Mastercraftsman has a couple of pieces of form that would give him a squeak in this off 116.
On his only run at this track, in a Juvenile Hurdle back in October 2017, he was only 4L behind Espoir D’Allen (16f yld/sft). That followed on from a win at Gowran on heavy and a previous runner up effort at Listowel behind Grey Waters. His 4 runs in 2018 were poor, but he returned to form when 4th off today’s mark at Ballinrobe.
He was a head behind La Sorelita that day conceding 2lb and she was a fine 4th in a Grade B on Day 1 here off 124. With 25 runners this race is a bit of a lottery, and a measure of good fortune will be required. However, at 66/1 Masterstonemason looks worth chancing for small stakes each way.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 3 TIPS: MASTERSTONEMASON E/W @ 66/1 6 PLACES
Punchestown Day 3 Tips: 4.15 – Handicap Chase (Grade B)
Those who followed our tips at Cheltenham will know I have a very soft spot for a horse in this race. Croco Bay is a horse I have followed for a long time and I didn’t mind seeing him beat my selection for the Grand Annual, Bun Doran, into 2nd. The two lock horns again today and they should both go well. Croco Bay has only been handed a 3lb rise by the Irish Handicapper for that win, and that could be lenient.
The 12yo will relish the yielding ground and he has had 48 days to get over his festival exertions. He has course form in the book, over a trip that stretches his stamina. He was 4th here over 20f three years ago off 142. Back at his optimum distance he could go a couple of places better and at 12/1 he looks a solid each way bet.
PUNCHESTOWN RACING TIP: CROCO BAY E/W @ 12/1 4 PLACES NB
Punchestown Racing Tips: 5.30 – Champion Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Ten will go to post for the first Grade 1 on the card on Day 3 of the Punchestown Festival. Baupame looks a worthy favourite after his fine fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. However, 5/2 looks short enough and at a bigger price Cracking Smart looks an interesting contender.
Gordon Elliott’s son of Great Pretender ran well enough off a big weight in the Coral Cup. His previous 3rd to Tiger Roll when beaten 6L at Navan (21f yld/sft) was a good run too. This will be just his 4th run of the season, he has won at the trip and his sole start at Punchestown resulted in victory. At odds of 11/1 he could go well for each way backers.
PUNCHESTOWN TIPS: CRACKING SMART E/W @ 11/1
Punchestown Racing Tips: 6.05– Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)
Another bumper field of 25 horses will line up for this 24f Grade B handicap hurdle. At odds of 12/1 Acey Milan looks potentially very well handicapped off a mark of just 125. This fella was just 5L behind Relegate in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2018. He held a lot of fancy entries at the start of the season, but he hasn’t yet delivered on his early promise. However, he has a valid excuse as Anthony Honeyball’s horses were sick.
He finally got his act together when winning at Plumpton in a 16f maiden, shaping as though he needed further. Bottomless ground sapped his stamina on handicap debut at Uttoxeter when he was beaten 12L in 3rd. It won’t be as soft today and on better ground he should be well able to stay 3 miles. On his bumper form he is absolutely chucked in off 125. At odds of 12/1 Acey Milan is capable of running a huge race.
PUNCHESTOWN DAY 3 TIPS: ACEY MILAN E/W @ 12/1 6 PLACES NAP
Punchestown Day 3 Tips: 6.40 – Novice Chase (Grade 1)
The final Grade 1 of the day is the Ryanair Novice Chase over 16f. A disappointing field of just seven will line up at the start. Defi Du Seuil was top class at Cheltenham and he will be hard to beat if in the same form. Ornua and Us And Them both ran well at Aintree and they could be the surprise packages. However, with bookies paying out on just 2 places each way, this is just a race to watch. No bet.