MYTH BUSTER returns after a break and runs in a handicap chase for the first time off a mark of 137 for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Despite not winning yet on the racetrack, the Chris Jones owned seven-year-old showed decent enough form in novice company last season to go close in this opening handicap chase.
He finished behind Samrco on his chasing debut at Down Royal last season and finished a good third to Easy Game at Leopardstown last Christmas. He was outclassed in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at the same venue in February before ending the season when second as a turned over favourite at Thurles in March. It certainly won’t be easy giving weight away to some proven handicappers here, but Myth Buster should run well with Fairly Legal looking one of his biggest dangers.
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The next stepping stone in the long-term plan to return to the Cheltenham Festival next March with LATEST EXHIBITION moves back to Punchestown for the Florida Pearl Novice Chase this Sunday. Paul Nolan and Bryan Cooper were delighted with his jumping and overall debut success over fences here last month and he should take all the beating again today.
Gordon Elliott has an excellent strike-rate here, winning three of the last four renewals and runs Pencilfulloflead for the Robcour team. The six-year-old kept on well to see off Coko Beach when landing a beginners chase at Galway last month with Rachael Blackmore once again in the saddle. Elsewhere, Court Maid won nicely at Fairyhouse last month and looks another interesting contender with the Tom Mullins mare now looking for her fourth straight victory this year.
BLACK TEARS returns here for Gordon Elliott having finished second to Stormy Ireland in this race twelve-months ago and receives weight from all opposition today. She begins her new season having ran a gallant second in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March and should have the edge to see off both Willie Mullins runners, Buildmeupbuttercup and Elimay.
The J.P McManus owned six-year-old has developed into a fine dual-purpose mare since her defeat behind Roksana in the Mares’ Hurdle in 2019. Elimay is undefeated since then and has secured four straight wins over hurdles and fences for the Mullins team. She might be lacking the fitness edge over her stable-mate and could give our selection most to worry about under Mark Walsh.
J.P McManus has won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival a record nine-times and his team have now started to produce another serious ante-post contender for him and the big race at Prestbury Park next March. SAINT ROI looked a handicap good thing when landing the County Hurdle earlier this year and returned in excellent fashion with an easy victory at Tipperary last month.
Saldier and Sharjah are both missing the Morgiana this year and Willie Mullins’ amazing record, now looking for ten-consecutive victories rests solely with this 156 rated improver this Sunday. He’ll need to step up on his jumping again and Abacadabras will be no pushover following his comeback run at Down Royal. It will be a fascinating race to watch with the Saint Roi currently second-favourite in the ante-post betting for the Champion Hurdle behind current champion Epatante.
Gordon Elliott runs three of the ten declared runners in the closing bumper where Jamie Codd rides HOLLOW GAMES on his debut under rules. The son of Beat Hollow won his point-to-point for Mary Doyle at Turtulla last March in a race were only two-horses finished. He was quickly sold for €255,000 four-days later and now runs in the colours of Noel and Valerie Moran.
Elliot and Codd were successful in this race with both Samcro and Malone Road in recent years, so hopefully Hollow Games can continue the good run for the team today. Elsewhere, Gordon’s Jet, Sin A Bhfuil, Whowonthetoss and The Banger Doyle all have experience, while any market support for Garm Colombe, Listening Mode and Perfect Attitude on debut should be taken seriously.
Tips for Punchestown on Sunday
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