* 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 fourth day of the Punchestown Festival is upon us, with the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle taking centre stage on an eight-race schedule.
Trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore are hoping to secure another Honeysuckle victory to follow on from their Cheltenham success.
Blackmore will have to fend off the likes of Epatante, Abacadabras and Goshen in the 17:25 race.
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.
The Bishopscourt Cup has some strange qualifying terms and conditions but Rewritetherules looks the one to beat. Beyond Redemption is the danger with Jamie Codd aboard.
A lot of good horses are dropping into handicap company as there’s no Grade 1 novice race over 2m 4f at this Festival, so horses towards the top of the weights tend to be the ones to follow. I’m against Willie Mullins’ Asterion Forlonge though and will instead go with Fils d’Oudairies, who has been running against the top novices like Monkfish over the winter. He fell at Cheltenham but is a strong traveller and Joseph O’Brien must be delighted with his rating of 142. Keep an eye on those that finish in the places or just outside it as they usually turn up in the Galway Plate later in the year.
A really competitive race where Scarlet And Dove is another Joseph O’Brien runner who has danced every dance with the best around this season and Jordan Gainford claims a very handy 7lbs off her back in the mares’ handicap chase. The likes of Magic Light and Court Maid should appreciate the 2m 5f trip, as will Salseretta who ran fourth to Colreevy, before pulling up in the Irish Grand National.
The Paddy Power Champion Hurdle has attracted a couple of English challengers in Goshen and Epatante inspired by the £100k Paddy Power bonus – if they win. However, Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle is the star attraction and I fancy her to follow up ahead of the other mare and 2019 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner, Epatante.
We could see another star of the future in the Novice Grade 1 Hurdle with the ultra-impressive Bob Olinger due to line up. He blitzed the field in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham and if he’s in that kind of form again, the rest are playing for the places. Gaillard De Mesnil could be the one to chase him home.
Billaway will likely head the market for this three-mile Hunter Chase, but I have my reservations about his chances of winning. He’s been on the go since November, has been running well without winning since January and he let favourite backers down at Cheltenham and Aintree. English challenger Caid Du Berlais has won his last two but is not getting any younger at 12-years-old. At a push, I’ll side with Paul Nicholls’ Bob And Co who was just getting into contention before falling at Cheltenham and has won since.
This is a winners-of-one novice hurdle for runners who probably aren’t up to Grade One status just yet. Keskonrisk has carried a big enough reputation this season and can justify it now. He’s my nap of the day. Of the others, MC Muldoon was second to Echoes In Rain at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival and she has franked that form this week already.
Willie Mullins has no runners in the concluding 2m 2f bumper, so Patrick is free to ride My Mate Mozzie for Gavin Cromwell who was a point-to-point winner for Mags Mullins last December.
*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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