*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
The action at Punchestown starts off with a good renewal of the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle with Willie Mullins represented by Dysart Dynamo and Hawai Game. The Closutton team previously won this race with Vautour, Douvan and Min and look to have more promising novice hurdlers for the season ahead. Hawai Game was a little keen but did it the hard way when making all to score on his Irish debut at Naas last month.
However, DYSART DYNAMO gets the vote having looked an exciting horse in all three victories, including a romp at Cork on his hurdling debut in early December. Flame Bearer, who finished fifth, was subsequently an unlucky third behind Bronn earlier this month. Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how much talent Guily Billy has after his easy victory at Tramore, while Gringo D’aubrelle has the best form in the book following his third to Stage Star in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
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Having recently tipped KILLER MODE (NAP) at Naas two-weeks ago, I’m happy to keep faith with Noel Meade’s runner in this opening division of the 2-mile maiden hurdle. The Gigginstown runner won his bumper in good fashion at Naas in December before going down in a battle when second to Bronn on debut over hurdles. Sean Flanagan will ride forward to keep out of trouble in such a big field and should go close with Goven looking his biggest danger with natural improvement from his run at Leopardstown.
Another big field for the second division of the 2-mile maiden hurdle where SUPREME JET is handed another chance to score for Oliver McKiernan. The six-year-old has some good form in the book having previously finished behind My Mate Mozzie and Eric Bloodaxe over the past year. A drop in trip looks ideal here following his latest run when fading into fourth at Limerick over Christmas. Jack In The Box on debut looks the most interesting rival for Gordon Elliott and the Magnier family.
Bob Olinger has his second start over fences in his build-up towards a return to the Cheltenham Festival in March. Having missed the winning ride at Gowran Park, Rachael Blackmore renews her partnership with last year’s Ballymore winner, and it will be fantastic to see this horse jump fences in public yet again. Gaillard Du Mesnil was second to Bob Olinger at Cheltenham and was turned over at odds-on to stable-mate Capodanno at Naas last month.
West Cork Wildway, Lieutenant Command and Lifetime Ambition are likely to race handy and I’d imagine Rachael Blackmore will find a nice position and look for cover in-behind those rivals. Bob Olinger is the talented short price favourite and will take all the beaten, with the more interesting battle the fight for second place. I’m hoping Gaillard Du Mesnil can reverse the form with his stable-mate from Naas and land the straight forecast behind Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old.
FIZZLESTICK outran her odds when finishing third to Concertista at Limerick over Christmas and could go close here on her second start over fences for Conor O’Dwyer. The daughter of Oscar has failed to win yet on the racecourse, but it says something that O’Dwyer placed her straight into Graded company on her chasing debut. Yes, she was well beaten but she stayed on gamely to grab a place and was funnily enough also third behind Honeysuckle in a maiden hurdle in 2018.
Elsewhere, Whiskey Lullaby will be popular on her second start for Willie Mullins have formerly been trained by Paul Nicholls. The seven-year-old can improve from her Irish debut when third at Limerick, while Galon De Vauzelle and My Uncas are other leading contenders. Phillip Rothwell’s runner was a point-to-point winner for Liam Kenny at Lismore, while Henry de Bromhead’s horse was rated slightly higher over hurdles.
Noel Meade’s team have been in consistent form over the past month and HENRY BROWN can take this 2m 4f handicap chase. The son of Mahler finally showed improvement over fences thanks to the application of blinkers at Limerick over Christmas. Eoin Walsh rides again and the slightly better ground and drop in trip should help in what looks a moderate affair. The introduction of cheekpieces should help main danger Stealthy Tom with Jordan Gainford back in the saddle for Enda Bolger.
Sunday Punchestown tips
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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