Ruby Walsh: I’m planning on living the Dream at Punchestown

The top jock zips through his rides on the opening card of the five-day Festival...

Punchestown 16.20

This is a very competitive race, despite there being just six runners.

Klassical Dream beat Aramon at the Dublin Racing Festival and Gordon Elliott’s Felix Desjy at Cheltenham. However, it was a standing start at the Festival and Felix Desjy missed the break. He proved what a good horse he was when winning at Aintree where he kept up a relentless gallop to win.

The ground should suit Aramon, as it should Quick Grabim, who was a very good winner of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier in the season.

While the sharper track at Punchestown mightn’t suit Klassical Dream as much as Leopardstown and Cheltenham did, he’s in very good form at home and hopefully has enough class to get through.

He’s possibly my best chance of a winner.

Punchestown 16.55

Willie Mullins has four entries here I’ve gone for Buildmeupbuttercup. Both she and Sancta Simona are dropping back to two miles and more importantly, taking a drop in class from Grade One company to a handicap. They both ran down the field at Fairyhouse behind Honeysuckle where Sancta Simona ran well for a long way, but the 2m 4f trip proved too far for her.

Both should give good account of themselves.

Dolciano Dici has really struggled to find her form this year but is making her handicap debut and Paul Townend rides.

I rode La Sorelita last time at Ballinrobe in what was a slowly-run race. I got caught in a pocket and while she came home well to finish third, she was too far back to reach the first two. She creeps in at the bottom of the weights and looks to have an each-way chance.

Punchestown 17.30

Willie has three entered with Min, Un de Sceaux and Great Field but I think it will be a match between the first two mentioned.

Min was spectacular at Aintree, putting up a career-best performance and I couldn’t desert him on the back of that win. However, we’ll only find out on Tuesday whether it’s left a mark on him and whether he can reproduce another run like it.

Un De Sceaux was a bit disappointing at Cheltenham, but his last couple of bits of work have been really good. The slower ground at Punchestown should also suit him as we saw on his Tingle Creek run against Altior this season.

He’s 11 now, retains all his old enthusiasm for the game and is very good when conditions suit him.


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Punchestown 18.40

Getabird jumped brilliantly all the way at Limerick in December until the second last. He then made a mistake at the last and got caught on the run-in by Hardline. I’ve no doubt he picked up an injury at the second last and that led to that mistake  – and his defeat.

He’s been back in training a while now and seems to be in great order again and likes going right-handed. He is stepping up to 3m for the first time since his point-to-point days, so we’ll just have to wait and see whether that suits him as much.

Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard was a spectacular winner at Cheltenham in the Close Bros. Chase but there’s always a fair step up in class from handicaps to Grade One company. Another worry for me is that A Plus Tard has been beaten both times he’s raced right handed, including at this venue in January.

Gordon Elliott’s RSA third Delta Work looks the one we all have to beat but Articulum could be each-way value after finishing third in the Arkle Chase over 2m. The step up in trip will really suit him.

Punchestown 19:15

The West Awaits is a fine big filly with a good pedigree who goes nicely at home, but she’s first reserve and needs something to drop out if she is to get a run. She’s improved throughout the Spring though, so hopefully will get to take her chance in the finale.

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