Mick Fitzgerald: Be sure to snare Buveur D’Air in Friday’s feature

Mick Fitz fancies Nicky Henderson's runner to bounce back to form at Punchestown...

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The opener over the ‘banks course’ at 3.40pm could be a great opportunity for Patrick Mullins to get a winner aboard Change Your Story. Trainer Peter Maher has such strong hand in these races that his runner is hard to ignore behind the likely favourite Alpha Male.

In the 4.20pm, Henry De Bromhead’s Poker Party is climbing up the weights to such an extent that you’d wonder is he well handicapped any more. He has been impressive his last two two starts. The one I am willing to give a chance at an each-way double-digit price is Pravalaguna.

She ran very well at Fairyhouse, but her jumping can be suspect. I hope David Mullins has whispered in her ear.


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Timeforwest was a really good winner over Killultagh Vic at Cork last time and enters calculations in the handicap hurdle at 4.55pm as she has been a star for connections since joining from Jonjo O Neill’s yard. You have to respect Gordon Elliott’s Barra but I’m sticking with Peter Fahey’s mare.

In the feature race of the day, the Punchestown Champion Hurdle at 5.30pmBuveur D’Air has a score to settle. Having never  run at this venue it would be nice for the former dual Champion Hurdle winner to end his season on a real high. Melon will be the Interesting one as this is a home game for him. Melon fell in this last year alongside Samcro and having run a good race in the Champion Hurdle he tipped up at Aintree when leading.

Apples Jade ran no race at Cheltenham and was then beaten at Aintree, so that is a worry for her fans. The race is going to set up nicely for Buveur D’air.

I expect him to win.

City Island

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The form horse in the Grade One novice hurdle at 6.05pm and the one they have to beat is City Island. He looked really good winning the Ballymore Hurdle. That form was subsequently boosted when Champ won at Aintree.

Royal Renezvous interests me most of the others. He Was a runaway winner of a maiden hurdle at Galway and I loved the way he went through that race. I don’t think Willie Mullins would pitch him in at the deep end if he didn’t think he was up to it. Paul Townend rides and he looks the each-way play.

Burning Ambition ran a huge race at Aintree, getting collared late on the run to the line, in the Foxhunters Chase over the Grand National fences. The 3m Hunt Chase could be right up his street if he can be smuggled into it late and not get involved in a battle.

It’s no coincidence that Derek O’Connor has been booked for Stand Up and Fight and it could be left to the front two in the market to battle it out.

Good luck!

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What do you think?