Ruby Walsh: Here’s 7 Punchestown picks that could prove lucky

The curtain comes down on the Irish NH season and Ruby's looking to sign off in style at the five-day festival...


1. Klassical Dream, Tuesday, 4.20pm

He won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and looked to have improved on his Leopardstown wins. He’s in great form at home. We also have Aramon, Quick Grabim & Mister Blue Sky in this contest. Quick Grabim missed a bit of time, but his work at home has been quite good. Felix Desjy sets the standard of the opposition.

Hopefully, Klassical Dream can start the Punchestown Festival with a bang for me.

2. Min, Tuesday, 5.30pm

Min looks the one to beat after his Aintree win. He was disappointing in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham but he’s won two Grade 1 races so far this season. Un de Sceaux ran a blinder in the Tingle Creek but didn’t run so well in the Ryanair Chase. But he did win this race last year, while Great Field has his first run since falling at Leopardstown over Christmas. It’s a good race but hopefuly Min can come out on top.

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3. Allaho, Wednesday, 5.30pm

We’ll have a few entries in this Grade 1 novice hurdle over 3m and I’m really looking forward to riding Allaho.

Minella Indo beat him in Cheltenham, but Allaho had previously beaten him at Thurles and given this will be only his fourth run for us since finishing just outside the places in a Leopardstown bumper last December, he’s made really good progress since.

Allaho’s matured since Cheltenham and seems a better horse now. I really like him.

4. Duc Des Genievres, Thursday, 6.40pm

I wouldn’t know in a year’s time who I’d pick between Duc Des Genievres and Chacun Pour Soi, but for now I’d opt for Duc Des Genievres.

He has more experience and won the Arkle Trophy at the Festival convincingly. Chacun Pour Soi has untapped potential but he lacks experience. His second run over fences is going to be in a Grade 1 and that’s going to be a massive ask. If he can get close to Duc Des Genievres, it will be a great run.

However, it looks like Defi Du Seuil could turn up in this contest after dodging the 3m Novice Chase on Tuesday. If he does it’ll make for a great race and Philip Hobbs’ JLT winner could be very hard to beat.


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5. Sharjah, Friday, 5.30pm

Sharjah and Melon will most likely run in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and could be joined by Benie Des Deiux or Laurina. It looks a wide-open race and Supasundae and Buveur D’Air, who were first and second at Aintree, might also be in the line up.

Sharjah has been running well all season and could have a big chance in this.

6. Breaken, Friday, 6.05pm

We’ve got French import Breaken among the entries for the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle, but Martin Brassil’s Cheltenham winner City Island will be very hard to beat. Whenever we won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in the past, you were fairly confident you’d win this on home soil.

Breaken though who was extremely impressive when winning at Limerick by 17 lengths on his first start for us. He has a few options throughout the week and could run in the ‘winners of one’ novice hurdle on the Friday card also.

He’d certainly have a big chance in that.

7. French Made, Saturday, 4.25pm

She’ll improve again from her Fairyhouse win heading into the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle on Saturday. I thought she was very good in Fairyhouse and the slightly slower ground at Punchestown will suit her even better.

I think she’s got an outstanding chance.

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