Ruby Walsh: Don’t be a Melon, follow my tips for Day 4 at Punchestown

Racing top jockey returns for another day of action at the Co Kildare racecourse and as always, he doesn’t hold back on his views…

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16:20 – EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase

Normally in a handicap you would look to the bottom end of the weights, but for whatever reason in the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (16:20) the top weights have a wonderful record.

Kemboy was a good winner in Limerick this month, he’s sure to get the trip and he’s a very good horse. Koshari is another one to watch out for.

If you thought he could jump quick enough, then he’d probably be well handicapped. However, jumping could be an been an issue for him.

The trip is stretching Montalbano, but this was the only race to run him in with his rating. Stamina could be an issue for him.

Meanwhile, Up For Review ran a blinder in the Ryanair Gold Cup behind Al Boum Photo, Shattered Love and Invitation Only. If I was fit, I’d probably have chosen to ride him. He’s in really good order and the 2m 5f trip will suit.

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16:55 – Mares Handicap Chase

We don’t have anything in the Mares Handicap Chase at 16:55, but if I had to pick then Elusive Ivy and Slowmotion would be the two I’d go with. Bonny Kate is a very good mare, but she might want a longer trip .

Slowmotion ran well in this race last year, so that has me leaning towards a win for her in this one.

17:30 – Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Wicklow Brave won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (17:30) last year, but this year it depends on which Wicklow Brave turns up. Punchestown’s level track suits him way more than Cheltenham.

Coquin Mans was a good winner in Fairyhouse, but he’s dropping back in trip here and I’m not certain that will help his chances. Min was fourth  to Un De Sceaux here on Tuesday over fences and he’ll have to recapture his best to be involved here.

Melon would be the obvious selection. He was second in the Champion Hurdle to Buveur D’air and I reckon a reproduction of that run gives him the biggest chance of pushing Samcro. On official ratings Samcro has a bit to find, but he’s a very talented horse.

He’s steps out of novice company here, but the race will suit him. Don’t forget Supasundae, he’d a brilliant run in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham behind Penhill and he was equally as good when he beat Faugheen to take the Irish Champion Hurdle. He’ll be banging on the door here.

 

18:05 – Profile Systems Champion Novice Hurdle

Burrows Saint may not have performed at Cheltenham, but he won a 2m4f maiden hurdle on this track back in November, so he does have a chance in the Profile Systems Champion Novice Hurdle at 18:05.

Duc Des Genievres’ runs behind Next Destination at Naas, Samcro at Leopardstown and even his fifth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham gives him a great shout here. Although, he was disappointing at Fairyhouse.

Getabird ran to keenly on Tuesday, I’d imagine Patrick Mullins will change tactics with him, get him to settle better and come from behind. Real Steel has been a bit in-and-out of late, but he looks really well at home. He seems to have freshened up and strengthened up again, he’ll like the trip too.

Elsewhere, Scarpeta might like a bit further, but he stays really well. He’s jumping is improving with every run, he’s in good form and he’ll be bang there. Finally for Willie, Whiskey Sour goes for the second time this week. He shaped on Tuesday like he wanted further and he’ll get it here.

Pallasator looks the one here though for Gordon Elliott, he was good in Fairyhouse and I thought Davy Russell gave him a good ride there. He was a high-class flat horse. He’s the pick of Gordon’s lot.

18:40 – Champion Hunters Chase

I’m not a Champion Hunters Chase guru by any means, but the interesting angle for me here is the fact that Derek O’Connor has gotten off Balnaslow to ride Uxizandre.

That could be a tip in itself.

19:10 – Novice Hurdle

Antey’s rating suggests he’ll have a bit to find here in this Novice Hurdle (19:10). Our other two chances look stronger here.

Causey Arch will have improved a good bit from his run in Clonmel. However, if Deal D’estruval produces anything like his handicap hurdle run from Leopardstown in January, then he’ll take all the beating here.

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What do you think?