There’s only five runners in the Grade One John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on Sunday, but it’s a very good race.
I’ll be riding Min, who was beaten by some very good horses in top races last year after winning first time out at Gowran Park over 2m 4f.
The track and trip will suit him and I’ve been very happy with how he’s going in his homework.
In the Maiden hurdle at 12.55pm on the same card, Tornado Flyer runs and was one of our star bumper horses last year. The 2m 4f trip should suit him. He was placed at Cheltenham and came back to beat Blackbow and Carefully Selected at Punchestown.
We’re happy with him, he’s schooled well and we think he’s in good form.
The couple of maiden hurdlers we’ve run so far have run well. Hopefully he can go even better and win on Sunday.
Getabird makes his seasonal bow in the Beginners Chase at 2.30pm. He has been schooling well over fences, but he tends to jump to his right like he did over hurdles. At least that won’t be an issue at Punchestown.
He’ll start off on Sunday over 2m but could step up in trip as the season progresses.
Down at Cork, Maze Runner is in the12.05. He’s been frustrating on the flat and it took him a while to get off the mark. When he did though, he did it well. He could be exposed if there’s a top-class juvenile in Sunday’s field, but he should give a good account of himself.
Come to Me has been a hard horse to train, but has plenty of work done at home and the soft ground will suit him in the following race at 12.40pm. Hopefully, he can get off the mark under Paul Townend.
Paul had a tough decision to make here, but sticks with Robin De Carlow in the Grade 3 Novice Hurdle at 1.10pm, and she romped home here last time, despite a very bad mistake at the last. Danny Mullins rides Pleasure Dome and things haven’t really gone her way recently. She’ll love the trip and is fit and well.
I’d find it very hard to split them but hopefully one of them can win it.
The Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase at 1.45pm sees the return of Great Field for us.
This should be a fascinating race to watch and it looks more like an English-style race than an Irish one. Both Great Field and Special Tiara should go hard at it from flag fall and that will put the stayers like Anibale Fly – who was placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National – under pressure to stay with them.
Great Field has a lot of work done and Cork should really suit him and he must have a great chance and we think a lot of him.
Camelia Des Cotte did exceptionally well to win in Clonmel after making a bad mistake at the second fence. The track should suit her and she should improve on the testing ground, so looks to have a major chance in the 2.15pm.
Eight and Bob mightn’t be at home if the conditions were too testing but the conditions of the 3.20pm Handicap Hurdle suit him, so he’ll take his chance.