Ireland is proving to be a bit of a haven for punters who love to bet on racing and Punchestown has a seven-race card to get your teeth into.
We start off with a race over the banks and I have tipped Ballycasey for the cross country in March at the Cheltenham festival – if that bet is to come good he must be at least placed here. I am hoping he can win but I fear Josies Orders for the team that have won six of the last ten runnings of this.
Prince D’Aubrelle has not managed many runs in the last two years but they must have plenty of belief in his ability as they have stuck at it. Chosen Mate was very impressive when winning for Gordon last time and will have plenty of followers but I am sticking with Ruby and Willie.
It’s a really big field for this maiden hurdle. I like young Ted here for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan. This horse jumped very moderately at Naas when finishing third and I have no doubt would have been closer if not for those sloppy jumps.
Again a lot of runners in this handicap hurdle. I really like Denis Hogan as a trainer and rider, his Lady Writer has performed consistently and with her wearing cheekpieces for the first time, this daughter of Urban Poet can win for this combo.
Decent novice chase here with Jessie Harrington-trained Impact Factor as favourite having been a good second to Cilaos Emery at Gowran, I think that’s good form. I am going for a bit of value here though with a Mullins trained horse – not Willie , but Emmet!
I like the way St Stephens Green won at Galway and the horse he beat that day, Winter Escape, has really franked that form. He gets the nod.
This time I am going for a Willie Mullins-trained horse in the big National trial. Some Neck is less exposed than a lot of these. His jumping can sometimes leave a lot to be desired but the big plus is that Ruby is keen to ride him. These are the sort of rides as a stable jockey you can take or leave if they are dodgy. The fact that Ruby is riding is good enough for me to go with him.
The jockey booking and the fact he was only 12/1 in the Thyestes makes me think Dounikos could be a each-way play in here too.
These bumpers can very often be governed by market movers. I like one to run well after a long layoff and that is Reasonable Doubt. This one is trained by a man who can ready a horse after a break. Alan Fleming is capable and this horse beat Rio Quinto in his point-to-point, who is now rated 130.
*All odds correct at time of posting