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Some old favourites on show here, including twice winner of the race Ballybroker Bridge and the last named seems to retain his form well at the ripe old age of 13 having finished runner-up to Neverrushacon in the Risk of Thunder Chase, which is run over the course and distance.
Enda Bolger has three entered here including the eight-year-old Shady Operator, who looked in need of an extreme test when looking very a one paced over 2-and-a-half miles at Limerick.
But the value each-way play here could come in the form of the Noel Meade charge MAJOR DESTINATION. The 10-year-old was still going fairly when departing at the ninth over the course and distance four weeks ago and is worth another chance to show that his previous third here to Stones and Roses was no fluke.
Deb’s Delight looked short of pace when runner-up in a 7-furlong handicap here on Friday and could be a major player if turning out again. However, the son of Dark Angel had a pretty hard race that afternoon.
Straitouttacompton bounced back to form over the course and distance last time out and has a cracking record at the track, but a 6lbs penalty makes this a difficult task preference is for the mare at a price.
A winner of eight races on all-weather surfaces including over this course and distance, BOND ANGEL consistency means that the handicapper has only dropped her a couple of pounds recently. Still, there was a bit more to like about her penultimate run on January 17th, but for some reason she failed to fire last time out, possibly ran too freely, when well behind the in form Daafr.
Uhtred is the interesting contender in this Listed novice hurdle having been off the track for some 427 days, but looking well above average the last time we saw him when easing home at Navan in a bumper over 2 miles. The fact that his astute trainer has persevered with him shows that he is held in some regard.
If the son of Fame and Glory is a positive in the market place then he could be the biggest danger to FIRE ATTACK. The selection fell at the last flight when beaten in the Moscow Flyer (Power of Pause) third when to my eyes he just raced too freely.
If ridden with more restraint I fancy he will see off that rival in receipt of 7lbs. The first-time hood should help to relax better and concentrate his mind in the early part of this wide-open event.
This Class Four speedster’s event is the best race on the card and is full of runners that like to race at the sharp end. That could mean that this race is set up for the old boy DUKE OF FIRENZE, who needs a really good tow. For a 12-year-old he certainly retains his form well and there was certainly nothing wrong with his closing third of eight to Mulzim last time out, where an even faster pace would have suited.
The handicapper has been very fussy in putting him up a pound to 75, but it remains a playable mark and the veteran gets the nod over the lightly raced Centurion Song and perhaps an even bigger danger, Charming Kid.
If there is more money for the last named, I shall be having a saver on him. It was not too long ago that the Dean Ivory-trained runner was rated in three figures and his last run – 45 days ago, when fourth to Recon Mission – was a fair effort when you consider he ran way too freely in the early stages of that contest.
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Bottom weight Pictures of Home is one of the least exposed in the field and was a well backed 4/1 favourite to win a similar contest last time out over this course and distance.
On that occasion he raced in rear, but up ground plenty quick enough to be handy between the third and second last before a mistake there knocked him totally out of his stride. That was only his sixth career start and in receipt of weight from the Declan Queally runner.
The eight-year-old OWENACURRA LASS has always looked as though she would be suited by a stiff test like this, and this will be her first shot at 3m since she ran in a point-to-point way back in 2017.
The finale at the Fibresand track is not going to take an awful lot of winning, although Smokey Malone is probably the right favourite here based on his length second to Fast Emma over 7 furlongs when never nearer than at the finish. So, there should be more to come from this grey gelding, but he may not have the potential of the top weight.
David Brown had a winner here on Friday and this son of Australian sire Helmet looks to have been laid out for a race of this nature having run all of his three outings at the track. On each of PIPS TUNE’s last two runs, he has been a never nearer mid-div finisher and this extra quarter of a mile looks made to measure on his handicap debut off a mark of 57.
That may well seem a harsh perch for him to run off here, but over and above most of his seven rivals he clearly has more potential and could easily be a springer in the market.
As is the case with these seasoned campaigners, many of them have fallen to a really viable handicap mark having thrown in more than the odd stinker.
The 2018 Thyestes Chase hero, Monbeg Notorious, fits that profile perfectly. He won that big handicap off 135 and subsequently won the Grade Two Ten Up Chase. However, since then he has been more hit than miss. The now 10-year-old has run like an absolute drain on his two starts to date this season being pulled up on both occasions, and although they were both in competitive affairs, he needs to find a spark from somewhere.
In the same ownership, Roaring Bull, Dounikos and top weight Alpha Des Obeaux more or less fall into the same category. But, set to wear the yellow and black cap for Gigginstown, NICK LOST still remains a chaser of some potential off his current mark.
The nine-year-old has only had 14 starts under rules and is two-from-seven over fences. He was off the track since March 2019 before his comeback last month at Thurles when a cracking third of 12 behind Enjoy D’allen over 2-and-three-quarter miles, staying on nicely at the business end.
A strong stayer as a novice hurdler, the selection still has plenty of potential and gets the vote over The Big Dog. The last named ran well behind Longhouse Poet here in December, but failed to follow that up in a Beginners Chase at Navan two weeks ago.
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14:00 Punchestown – Fire Attack
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15:30 Punchestown – Owenacurra Lass
16:20 Southwell – Pips Tune
16:30 Punchestown – Nick Lost
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