Horse Racing Tips: Brendan Duke’s likes this 9/1 Stayer at Punchestown on Sunday

Brendan Duke returns to steer you in the right direction at Punchestown on Sunday.

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After last weekend’s jamboree, there is the inevitable feel of a comedown about Sunday’s meeting in Punchestown. It’s a decent card all the same. The conditions races looks competitive. We also get a staying handicap chase for which only the brave need apply.

There’s even a little something for those members of the cross country subculture. I don’t count myself among their number. Thedevilscoachman, Uhtred and Jungle Boogie are the horses most likely to make a name for themselves going forward. You won’t be surprised to hear that the ground is attritional.

15:30 Smiths Girl

Smiths Girl is of interest in this handicap hurdle. It’s possible that her career will be defined by the third start of her career. She finished fifth in a Navan maiden hurdle last March. That effort probably resulted in an opening mark 20 pounds higher than it should have been.

Her seasonal comeback, and handicap bow, was blighted by jumping mistakes. She jumped, and ran, a whole lot better next time up. That run came in a mares handicap hurdle at this track. It was probably a decent race for the grade.

The first and second are progressive, in form horses. Smiths Girl is back in open company but it’s not a massive stretch to suggest this represents a drop in grade.

The step up to three miles is the most significant thing though. She shaped like a strong stayer last time out. She got a bit tapped for toe turning for home but stuck at it in game fashion. If she improves as I expect, this race represents a decent opportunity.

16:00 Dinny Lacey

Joseph O’Brien should be on good terms with himself before this novice chase. Duc D’allier and Sempo both hold reasonable claims. Sempo is potentially very well treated but will need to jump better. Going right handed should help but he strikes me as a horse who lacks the cajones for chasing. Metaphorically speaking.

Duc D’allier looks to have plenty of appetite for the game, and is greatly feared. Dinny Lacey rates the selection. This horse has kept good company for most of the season. He was no match for Envoi Allen last time out but put in another solid shift.

His Limerick win on penultimate start is working out. The second won next time up, and the third ran better than it looked in a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival. A feature of that Limerick win was Dinny’s jumping.

He has loads of scope over a fence. Sunday’s trip is a bare minimum for the horse. I expect Robbie Power to ensure a good test in the conditions. He might just be able to grind his rivals into submission.



16:30 Se Mo Laoch

Paddy gives us a couple of extra places in this handicap chase. I quite like the shape of this race. The Big Dog and Midnight Maestro head the betting. That’s understandable though I’m not convinced Midnight Maestro wants a slog, and The Big Dog may have his own ideas about the game.

Se Mo Laoch looks a very solid play. This trip will take some getting in the ground. This horse is a remorseless stayer. He’s not obviously well handicapped but that may not be the deciding factor here. Mind you he’s only three pounds above his last winning mark.

He made a solid start to this campaign over hurdles in December. He should be fresh and well for Sunday’s assignment. Connections opt for first time blinkers. That should be fine. He usually wears cheekpieces but the effects may be wearing off.

He’s inclined to hit flat spots, and be slovenly at the odd fence. Interestingly he won in first time cheekpieces. Hopefully between the headgear, and Philip Enright the horse will find a decent rhythm. If he’s there or thereabouts half a mile out, I suspect few will finish stronger.

Brendan’s tips at Punchestown

15:30 Smiths Girl
16:00 Dinny Lacey
16:30 Se Mo Laoch

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

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