Mick Fitzgerald’s 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.
Gordon Elliott looks like he has a good chance to start the day off with a winner. LEVEL NEVERENDING has some very good form including a good run in the Pertemps Handicap at Cheltenham and now races of a 7lbs lower mark. A reproduction of his run at Warwick when third to Glimpse of Gala should see him there or thereabouts.
Another fancied Gordon Elliott runner and THREE CARD BRAG ran a really good race in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle when fifth to Stay Away Fay and is closely matched with Paul Nolan’s Sendor Clegane on that run. Sendor Clegane finished four lengths ahead of him that day and is decent.
Three Card Brag was just beaten by a neck at Naas by Inthepocket before that and the winner went on to win the Grade One Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree after finishing fourth to Marine Nationale Cheltenham. His form stacks up and there shouldn’t be much between them.
There is no doubt about the high opinion that GRANGECLARE WEST is held in by the Mullins’ camp but he has underperformed a little. He was sixth to Good Land at Leopardstown in February when last seen and was favourite for the Grade One Lawlors of Naas Hurdle that Champ Kiely won before that but finished down the field. He can bounce back now and start to show his true potential.
Willie Mullins has two runners in this contest and Paul Townend has opted for GAELIC WARRIOR who was a runaway winner of a Leopardstown handicap under top weight before finishing runner-up in the Ballymore Hurdle to the exciting Impaire Et Passe. He has a tendency to jump right so the Punchestown track should be a massive plus and gives him a winning chance.
It may seem strange to be going against the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs and the runner-up Bravemansgame, but the Gold Cup does leave its mark on horses.
Henry de Bromhead’s ENVOI ALLEN bounced back to form at Cheltenham and could be the value play in this contest. He was a good winner of the Ryanair Chase and the form has been boosted by Shishkin winning at Aintree. He looks the value bet against the very short-priced favourite, Galopin Des Champ.
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This was such a good story with A DREAM TO SHARE winning at the Cheltenham Festival for Brian Gleeson, his son John and veteran trainer John Kiely, after being bought by JP McManus. There was no fluke about his last two wins, he has a change of gear and looks progressive.
It is interesting that Willie Mullins chooses to run last year’s winner in this contest again. ROYAL RENDEZVOUS was well beaten when last seen at Fairyhouse behind Easy Game, but is talented. He has done well at Punchestown in the past also and returns now running off a lower handicap mark than when winning this prize last year.
Team Mullins saddle FUN FUN FUN who went into the Cheltenham bumper unbeaten in two mares’ bumpers but couldn’t cope there and finished down the field. She’ll have been freshened up since that run and crucially this daughter of Martaline returns to race against her own sex where she had looked a class apart. She will do for me in Wednesday’s finale.
Mick Fitzgerald’s 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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