Ruby Walsh: Tuesday’s tops tips over the jumps at Punchestown

The Willie Mullins yard is flying and here's the skinny on his runners today.

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We seem to be seeing a lot more Irish racing on Tuesday and today is no different with a seven-race card at Punchestown.

The first that goes to post is a three-year-old maiden hurdle at 12.40 over 2m where there’s little jumps form to go on as a fair few of these have come from the Flat. Willie Mullins doesn’t have a runner but Arthur Moore’s Sea Ducor could have a squeak, based on his win over 1m 6f at Navan last month.

If he takes to hurdling he could have an each-way chance.

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Joseph O’Brien’s Dlauro is an odds-on favourite in the 13.10, another 2m maiden hurdle. He was a big-money buy at the sales and won a bumper at this track last May. Some of his beaten rivals have won since.

Willie Mullins has three in the race with Rebelitto making his debut for the yard. He’s a free-going type that Brian Hayes rides. Danny Mullins rides Zenon who’ll have to improve from his run when fifth to Envoi Allen at Down Royal earlier this month, while Paul Townend could have the best chance of ours in French import Fils Spirituel who won his only start there over 1m 4f on soft ground at Lignieres.

However, Dlauro could take a lot of beating in this.

Dounikos-Punchestown-Feb-19

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Minella Encore returns after a long absence to make his debut over timber in the 2m 5f maiden hurdle at 13.40. He has a lot of work done at home, looks in good form and the trip should suit.

We’re hopeful Minella Encore can get through this test.

Danyy Mullins rides stablemate Drury who won a Cork bumper in August before two placed efforts in maiden hurdles at Gowran Park and Cork recently. She’ll have to improve a bit in this race where Noel Meade’s Momus could be the biggest danger to Minella Encore.

The feature race of the day is the rated Novice Chase over 2m 4f at 14.40 and it looks competitive. Willie Mullins has two runners in Dorrells Pierji and Salsaretta and both make their debuts over fences, while  Gordon Elliott saddles Galvin, who ran well behind Donald Pump at Fairyhouse a couple of weeks ago.

However, Jessica Harrington’s Whisperinthebreeze has rock solid form over fences, winning the Leopardstown Chase last February and blazed a trail in the Irish Grand National for a long way before finishing ninth.

That brings a different level of form to this contest that the others offer.

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We’ve to wait until the final race on the card, the 2m Auction Flat Race at 15.40 for Aione. He’s a former point-to-point winner and our bumper horses have turned a corner recently and Aione can follow them in.

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