* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
The third day of the Punchestown Festival is upon us, with the Champion Stayers Hurdle taking centre stage on an eight-race schedule.
Flooring Porter is hoping to build on his Cheltenham success, while jockey Jonathan Moore will be desperate to win after missing the Festival victory through injury.
Willie Mullins’ Energumene, who was last seen at Leopardstown in February, is also back in action in the Novice Chase at 18:35.
Top pundit Ruby Walsh and Paddy Power assessed the Punchestown card on the latest edition of Paddy Power’s From the Horses Mouth podcast, focusing on this week’s showcase Festival that brings the curtain down on the Irish jumps season.
Ena Baie ran a good race at Cork in what looked like a decent race finishing fourth to Sole Pretender, Bapaume and Wonder Laish. She was raised 2lb for that run to 119. She’s among the top weights but Jordan Gainford takes 7lb off. Cousin Harry may run again after winning here on Tuesday.
Jungle Junction after a series of near misses got his head in front at Naas and then won well again at Fairyhouse for Jessie Harrington and Robbie Power. He could go in again for the hat-trick. Grand Annual runner-up Entoucas is up against him, but I’m not so sure if two miles is the best trip for Entoucas. He could be one for the Galway Plate later in the season.
Alpha Des Obeaux looks one of the classier horses in this contest, but we won’t know how it takes to this unique ‘banks’ course until he jumps off. There’s plenty of good campaigners to take him on. Some Neck has won at Cheltenham in December but will the ‘banks’ suit him? Singing Banjo was a winner here on Tuesday and Call It Magic has dropped right down the weights. I haven’t a huge opinion on it, but it’s Enda Bolger’s record in this race that makes me lean towards Stand Up and Fight.
I watched Flooring Porter getting beat in a handicap at Gowran Park so it came as a big shock when he won the Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas. Many though he’d stolen it from the front and wouldn’t repeat the trick at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, but he did.
He’s only a six-year-old and this has been one of the training performances of the season by Gavin Cromwell. He can win again, but it’s a deep field including Coral Cup winner Heaven Help Us, Pertemps Final winner Mrs Milner, Fury Road, French Dynamite and Ronald Pump.
It could be a very strongly-run race and could suit a closer. At a price I’ll go with James du Berlais each-way behind Flooring Porter to win.
I’ll be shouting for Pure Genius for my dad, Ted, who won his maiden hurdle at this track in January and beat Bold Enough (who went on to finished third at Aintree) on his last start at Downpatrick. This race should suit his style of running and he has a chance. Willie Mullins trains Capodanno who has to improve a little and if Millen to One gets in as a reserve, he’d have a good each-way chance.
I’ve no reason to doubt that Energumene will win. It looks a great chance for him to end what has been a very good season – bar missing the Cheltenham Festival – in style.
Willie Mullins has three runners in this, but I fancy Henry de Bromhead’s Magic Daze. She was keen and made the running all the way to the final flight in the mares’ novice hurdle before Telmesomethinggirl proved too good for her. That’s not easy to do at Cheltenham on the New Course and Punchestown should play to her strengths a lot more. She’ll be hard to beat.
Patrick Mullins has gone for Dysart Dynamo who beat More Than A Memory at Clonmel on debut. We really like him and was in good form when I watched him work last week. Cool Jet was down the field in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham behind his stablemate Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit and looks to be the second string now. Patrick actually rode Grand Jury to win at this track for Henry de Bromhead in March and was impressed with him. Jamie Codd takes the ride now.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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