*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
All good things must come to an end and Saturday is no exception as the curtain comes down on the 2022 Punchestown Festival. But fear not as the end-of-season meeting finishes with a bang, with a pair of quality Grade 1s featuring on the card.
Triumph Hurdle winner Vauban attempts to follow up his Cheltenham success by scoring in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at 5pm. Fil Dor has 2½l to find with Willie Mullins’ charge from last month’s meeting in the UK.
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Epatante, meanwhile, is the hot favourite to score in the Mares Champion Hurdle after swerving a clash with Honeysuckle in Friday’s Paddy Power Champion Hurdle. The eight-year-old proved her ability to stay over a longer trip when landing the Aintree Hurdle earlier this month.
All the details you could possibly need about Saturday’s races at Punchestown are available on our snazzy Racecards page including the runners and riders, weights, odds and horse-by-horse analysis.
Punchestown Day 5 Tips
- Horse Racing Tips: Ruby Walsh’s Saturday Punchestown Cheat Sheet
- Horse Racing Tips: Frank Hickey’s Saturday selections at the Punchestown Festival
- Horse Racing Tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s Saturday Punchestown Festival best bets
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Scoot on over to the Racecards tab at the top of page to start swotting up on Saturday’s races, otherwise, you’ll find the start times and tips for day five of the 2022 Punchestown Festival below.
The La Touche Cup 1-2-3-4 have been declared but it may pay to focus on fresher legs. Enda Bolger is seeking a fourth win in this since 2015 and SHADY OPERATOR gets the nod to bounce back from a lesser run in the Cheltenham cross-country at a track where he has a good record. Stablemate Stand Up And Fight was third in the La Touche last year and will be a threat if on a going day. 2021 winner Call It Magic and Somptueux, an interesting newcomer to the cross-country scene, are also shortlisted.
Plenty of familiar names on show here including 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up ANIBALE FLY. Tony Martin’s charge is clearly not the force of old but, having been luckless in the Grand National at Aintree 3 weeks ago (brought down third), he can snap a lengthy losing streak stretching back to 2017. Plan Of Attack heads up the opposition following a string of placed efforts in cross-country events, with Champagne Platinum and Glenloe also considered.
All roads lead to EPATANTE, who found only the brilliant Honeysuckle too good in the Champion Hurdle last month and she subsequently scored in good style on her first attempt at this trip at Aintree. She will take the world of beating against her own sex here. Telmesomethinggirl was starting to get interested when brought down two-out in the David Nicholson and she is second choice ahead of the eventual winner of that race, Epatante’s stablemate’s Marie Rock, and the third home, Mrs Milner.
A host in with chances but DONKEY YEARS progressed again when finishing runner-up to Defi Bleu at Fairyhouse 12 days ago and with that pair pulling well clear of the third, Eric McNamara’s charge gets the verdict to turn the tables on his old rival with first-time cheekpieces applied here. Last-time-out winners Duc de Beauchene and Recite A Prayer are another couple that may feature.
Willie Mullins has saddled six of the last eight winners of this and in VAUBAN he fields a standout contender for this year’s renewal. The ex-French gelding did the job well in the Triumph Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and the best is surely yet to come. Fil Dor chased the selection home at Cheltenham, just as he did at Leopardstown in February, and looks set for the runners-up spot once more. HMS Seahorse is most interesting of the remaining quartet.
FASTORSLOW comes here on the back of a fine second in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and is taken to go one better in a very open handicap. Willie Mullins arrives mob handed and his La Prima Donna is fancied to emerge second best with Camprond and Drop The Anchor two more who command plenty of respect.
The market will no doubt prove informative in the final race of the 2021/22 Irish jumps season. The vote goes to BALLYBAY, who is seemingly the choice of Patrick Mullins and with his father enjoying yet another fruitful Punchestown Festival, he can make a winning start. Spirit of Legend was runner-up on his sole start in Irish points last year so he gets the vote for second, with point winners Path d’Oroux and Read To Return also likely types on paper.
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