Mick Fitzgerald: Walk to Freedom can get us out of jail at Punchestown

The curtain comes down on the Irish jumps season on Saturday and Fitzy's on hand for the finale...

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It’s been a long and eventful week at Punchestown and we’re down to the final day. So here goes…

The action opens with the 3m 1f Cross Country Steeplechase at 2.35pm where I like the chances of Hurricane Darwin who comes here a fresher horse than some of his rivals who have also run this week. Alan Fleming’s nine-year-old can make that advantage count.

Measureofmydreams is a frustrating horse, his jumping can be hit and miss and last time he tipped up at the first in the Irish Grand National. He was well backed for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham only to disappoint also but some of his form is really promising. I am giving him one last chance in the 3m 7f handicap chase at 3.10pm. Don’t be surprised if there is a move for Redhotfillypeppers as the Willie Mullins’s yard is red hot at the moment. She is unexposed over fences and could be well handicapped.

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Benie des Dieux last hurdle fall was heartbreaking for so many punters at Cheltenham. A win here in the 2m 4f Grade One hurdle (3.50pm) won’t be compensate for them but it would be for this filly. Her stablemate Stormy Ireland should be the one for the forecast.

Nicky Henderson’s Fusil Raffles was very impressive at Kempton in February, where he broke the track record. He looks better suited to this speed test of the 2m Grade 1 hurdle at 4.25pm than Aintree runner-up Fakir Doudairies. However, he looks a stayer for the future and unless it lashes  down and the ground changes to very soft, I can’t see him beating Fusil Raffles.

I won the 3m ‘Pat Taaffe’ Handicap Chase 5pm many years ago on my Grand National winner Rough Quest and it has a rich history. This year is not choc full of quality but Jessie Harrington won’t mind when her Walk to Freedom wins. This horse has been over hurdles a lot recently but enjoyed it back over fences at Fairyhouse. He still looks fairly handicapped over fences.

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Katie O’Farrell looks to have a fantastic opportunity to get on the score sheet in the 2m 4f Handicap Hurdle at 5.35pm.
Cut The Mustard is one of nine entries for Team Mullins and she has run some great races in competitive handicaps and deserves to win a biggie. Katie has a 5lb claim and that will be useful here.

Top weight Mr Adjudicator was second in the Triumph Hurdle last season but was reluctant to race last time, That’s not ideal in a contest with this many runners!

Good Luck!

*Prices correct at time of publication but are fluid

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