They’re under orders at Punchestown on Tuesday but we’ll have to dodge a few bullets before it ends on Saturday.
A Plus Tard was an extremely impressive winner of the Close Brothers Handicap Chase at Cheltenham has been backed to take the step up in both trip and grade in his stride on day one at Punchestown. He was initially put in at 12/1 a couple of week back and the cash has kept pouring in for Henry de Bromhead’s runner against Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work who he is now rated 1lb higher than on official ratings.
Carefully Selected was a top-class bumper performer last season and was placed at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals. He didn’t make his hurdles debut until March this year when winning at Limerick and he has been heavily backed from 16/1 down to 9/2 for this 3m mile novice hurdle event.
Ruby Walsh has elected to ride Allaho who is having just his fourth start for Team Mullins since joining from France. Champion jockey elect Paul Townend takes the reins on Carefully Selected who is now into third favourite behind Albert Bartlett winner Minella Indo and ahead of the runner-up Commander of Fleet.
Colin Tizzard has an excellent record with the horses he sends to the Punchestown Festival and Vision Des Flos has attracted each-way support for Thursday’s feature. A winner of the Land Rover bumper at Punchestown in 2017, he was second in a Grade 1 novice hurdle here last season. His Fontwell win over If The Cap Fits was strongly franked by that horse winning the 3m Grade 1 at Aintree and punters latched onto him at 25/1, but he’s now into 16/1.
Martin Brassil’s runner has been really well supported to follow up his Ballymore Novices Hurdle win at the Festival. We were initially 2/1 when the book opened, but have hit every branch on the tree since and the 5/4 about the favourite is starting to come under pressure.
There could be a few sore heads in the trading room even before the Irish Bank Holiday weekend kicks in if City Island is first past the post on Friday.