In today's preview, I'm diving into the Sunday action at Punchestown. I debated whether to whip up a Sunday column, but then I figured, why the heck not?
Galopin Des Champs is set to make his eagerly awaited comeback in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase (2:30) and he will be a short price to make it a winning one.
Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner faces five rivals, four of them stablemates. The only non Willie Mullins trained runner is Fastorslow who beat Galopin Des Champs at the Punchestown Festival in April.
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I think Fastorslow win here at the festival has been underestimated by many punters. He’s a genuine Gold Cup horse but I'm thinking he might not be as sharp for today's race as the favorite. I think Galopin De Champs will make a winning seasonal return.
Betting Insights: Asterion Forlonge at 4/1 Without Galopin Des Champ
Now, if you're eyeing a bet for the race, Asterion Forlonge at around 4/1 in the without Galopin Des Champs betting might be worth a look. He had a short campaign last season, kicking off in March with all four runs over hurdles. Coming back to the bigger obstacles for his first race this season, he's been solid fresh before. Just two seasons ago, he was giving Allaho a bit of a run for its money before taking a tumble three fences from the finish in this very race. Sure, his jumping can be a bit sketchy, but when everything clicks, I reckon he's got the talent to snag a Grade 1 win over fences. Check this out—his track record over fences at Punchestown reads 1F1U.
Imagine Eyes Victory in Graded Test at Punchestown
The other Graded race on the Punchestown card is the Grade 2 BetVictor Craddockstown Novice Chase (1:55). It looks at mercy off odds on favorite Imagine. The 5-year-old looked natural over fences when making a winning chase debut at Fairyhouse earlier this month. Testing ground seems to suit but I think it will be soft enough for him to make a successful transition to Graded company.
Time to Take on Cesarewitch Winner The Shunter!
3:00 – Many punters will be expecting Cesarewitch winner The Shunter to make a return to hurdles for the first time since that epic Newmarket win. Sure, you got to give credit, but I'm thinking he can be taken on.
Gabbys Cross was a solid 2nd, just 3 ¾ lengths behind Buddy One at Galway (2m 6f) last month. Buddy One went on to score at Cheltenham, so that form looks pretty rock-solid. Now, back at 3m, the 8-year-old should be right up there again, carrying just 3lb more.
Keep an eye on Shadow Rider too. He finished a 5 ¼ length third to Buddy One in that same Galway hurdle. It was his first run in 10 months since joining his current yard and with a 2lb pull with Gabbys Cross, might just turn the tables.”
But my top bet? Alpesh Amin. He finished a respectable 11 lengths back in the Buddy One race. It was his first run in 7 months, and he wasn't subjected to the toughest of rides. He closed out last season strong, winning at Limerick (2m 5f) in March. Looks like he can handle 3m, and if he's not banking on heavy ground, I reckon he's got a shot at hitting the places here.
2:30 – Asterion Forlonge – 4/1 or bigger in the without Galopin Des Champ market.
Good luck with your Sunday bets.