Ruby Walsh: Kemboy is in the mix, but Al Boum Photo is the one to beat

Racing’s top jock has a busy week ahead of him at the Punchestown Festival, but we’ve got his tips for Wednesday’s action.



16:20 – Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final

This is a competitive race, where the top horses –  Zero Ten, The Big Dog and The Holy One – all set a very high standard.

I’m on Voix Des Tiep and he’s improved since he won in Gowran Park, but he has run against The Big Dog twice and unfortunately, hasn’t beaten him before. However, maybe it will be third time lucky for him.

16:55 – Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle 

I’m riding Crack Tiepy in this one and Paul Townend is on Crack Mome for Willie Mullins. They’re both coming back from very long lay-offs. This is a race that both can run in and a nice place to start them off again.

I’d imagine that Elimay is our number one here though, and Mark Walsh is on board her for JP McManus. She’s had a few decent runs for us and she’s probably fitter than the other two.


17:30 – Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle

I’ve picked Allaho, and he’s going against Minella Indo – who got the better of him in Cheltenham. Commander Of Fleet was second in the same race and he re-opposes again here too. I reckon the track might suit Allaho though, even if it was a tight call on if to pick him or Carefully Selected.

They’re our two main challengers in this race. Carefully Selected is a touch fresher and stays well, while Allaho is a right good horse too. They’ll both have to go a bit here to get by Minella Indo, who was very impressive in the Albert Bartlett.


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18:05 – Punchestown Gold Cup

Our trio are coming into this in very good form. Al Boum Photo was brilliant in winning the Gold Cup and that has to be the best form line in the race. Al Boum Photo ran to a rating of 171 in Tramore and he was at 175 for the Gold Cup.

I believe that Gold Cup was stronger than either race that Kemboy won, so Al Boum Photo has to be the one to beat. Hopefully, we can give him a good run for it though. Meanwhile, Bellshill won the Irish Gold Cup at the Leopardstown Racing Festival, but never travelled at Cheltenham.

18:40 – Conyngham Cup

This is not the strongest Champion Bumper that has ever been run and I would expect Mt Leinster to have improved a bit from Fairyhouse. I could see him turning the tables on Golden Spread here.

19:10 – Guinness Handicap Chase 

Class Conti won well at Tramore last time out over 2m 6f, he drops back in trip here. I’m not certain that it will suit him, but a rating of 147 is appealing for him. Elsewhere, Livelovelaugh ran well for a long way in the English National before not seeing out the trip, dropping back to 2m4f should suit him. They’ll both be competitive in this one.

19:45 – Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race

We have three nice runners in the last race of the day, Pont Aval, Yukon Lil and Stops A Nation. However, I can’t see any of them getting past the Peter Fahey mare Derek O’Connor rides, Gypsy Island. I reckon she’ll win and she’s as good a mare as there is in training.

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What do you think?