A pretty smart maiden hurdle heralding the real beginning of the jumps season. ESKYLANE was the best of these in bumpers, finishing fifth at the Cheltenham Festival, and gets the vote to make a winning start over hurdles, chiefly at the expense of Barbary Castle and Buddy Rich, the latter with previous hurdling experience.
An open handicap in which strong claims are held by Badness Backfires, now back at his best trip, while Wait Here showed signs of a return to form at Listowel when well-backed. However, they could both struggle to cope with handicap debutant SIRJACK THOMAS, an 84-rated flat handicapper competing off just 98 here, though he will have to show a lot more than he did in maidens in the spring. At a price, Balaclava could go well.
Scalino annihilated the field on his handicap debut here, and now that he seems to have learned to settle, a 15lb rise for this youngster might not be beyond his capabilities. Kildorrery makes a good deal of appeal back hurdling off a more lenient mark than his rating over fences, but RED GERRY (nap) is given the nod. The Lartigue third seems to be crying out for this longer test and can continue the good run for his stable. Futurum Regem can outrun his odds.
Wave Of The Sea, one of two 4yo’s to take up the challenge was impressive at Kilbeggan and can be expected to climb quite a few steps up the ladder at this game. However, RAZOUL is more battled-hardened at this stage and it could prove decisive. A solid second in a recent Grade 3 at Roscommon lately where he had Polished Steel 18.5l in arrears, he has lots in his favour here. Popong is also worth a close look.
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A good-class renewal with the first four from last year re-opposing. Tout Est Permis proved no match for Jett and Alpha Des Obeaux that day but has 6lb less to carry this time and given the form of Noel Meade’s team, it would be no surprise to see him come out the best of the trio. However, preference is for THE STORYTELLER, a bit disappointing at Gowran but who should appreciate the return to this trip.
A weak affair and probably a good opportunity for the former point winner BISHOPS QUARTER to follow in the footsteps of his owners Presenting Dylan and Paranoid, both of whom obliged on their respective debuts for Gordon Elliott on the back of a stable change. Top Question, Ask And Answer, Sunrise Lady and Gold Seal are the most likely dangers.
An interesting affair with the Gordon Elliott-trained pair likely to dominate the market, both of whom were reported to have not had a hard time of it at home, before making a winning debut. Of the pair, slight preference is for MARS HARPER, with the third home from his Ballinrobe win, going on to win a bumper and a maiden hurdle in the interim. Expect much better from Sin A Bhfuil here.
The Racing Post’s tips for Punchestown today
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- Frank Hickey’s 6 slick picks for a Wednesday wager
- A NAP, Next Best & Each-Way Play At Nottingham On Wednesday