A veritable feast of action under both codes starts today with day one of the Punchestown Festival. It’s not only Punchestown though, it’s also Guineas weekend at Newmarket on Saturday and Sunday.
Inside today’s main piece I’m looking at some of today’s big races at Punchestown. Plus, I have a few flat horses for the tracker.
Three for the Tracker
Before I concentrate on the Punchestown races. Here are last week’s eyecatcher's.
Blue Cap – David Menuisier
Blue Cap will have gone into plenty of notebooks after his run at Epsom last Tuesday. Having his first start since August. The 5-year-old was easy to back which suggested he was expected to need the run. He got no sort of passage in the final two furlongs but finished with plenty in the tank. Maybe a more galloping track will suit him better but at least he showed he handled Epsom’s undulations and could be back here for a handicap at the Derby meeting. Last season’s win came on good to firm but he did win on heavy when trained in France.
Dreamloper – Ed Walker
Dreamloper ended last season with a career best effort on RPR’s when winning on her handicap debut at Ascot last September. Starting the season off a 6lb higher mark at Haydock on Saturday, the filly looked to be going well but didn’t get a clear passage two furlongs out. Once in the clear she was finishing off her race best of all to take fourth. Given her lightly raced profile she’s open to more improvement this year. She’s unraced on slower than good ground.
Law Of One – Sir Michael Stoute
One of the most impressive winners last week came at Doncaster on Saturday evening. Law Of One was returning for the first time since easily winning a Wolverhampton novice back in October. He looked to be nicely treated for the 1m 4f Class 4 handicap and so it proved as he ran out a comfortable winner. He will go up for this success but he looks capable of more improvement as a 4-year-old. The colt a half brother to an Arc runner-up Cloth Of Stars could stay further and should be competitive in much better handicaps as the season progresses. He could even be an Ebor horse.
Punchestown Festival – Day 1
There are plenty of superstars in action over the next few days and we have some mouth-watering clashes to look forward to and two of them are today. Runaway Ryanair winner Allaho drops to 2m in the William Hill Champion Chase (5:25) and faces specialist two milers in stablemate Chacun Pour Soi and English raider Nube Negra. Later, in the card Monkfish takes on Envoi Allen n the Champion Novice Chase (6:30).
4:15 – eCOMM Merchant Solutions Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m ½ f
A disappointing field of just five runners go to post for the first of the Grade 1 contests. It looks a match between the Willie Mullins pair of Echoes Of Rain & Blue Lord. The first named has won both her last two starts in Grade 2 company and is an improving novice hurdler. Blue Lord looked booked for second when falling at the last at in the Supreme at Cheltenham last time.
5:25 – William Hill Champion Chase (Grade 1) – 2m
Seven are set to go post for the race of the day. Willie Mullins has the front two in the betting.
Allaho blew away his rivals putting in superb round of jumping to win the Ryanair. Looks worth a try back to 2m. The one to beat if he can he replicate his Ryanair Chase form against specialist two milers.
Chacun Pour Soi was a hot favourite to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham but found less than expected coming up the hill and had to settle for third. A previous C&D winner this track suits him better than Cheltenham.
Nube Negra comes over from England and he’s worth his place in the line-up after taking second place off Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase. He was finishing his race best of all that day and was a shade unlucky not to win.
First Flow was only sixth in the Champion Chase but he didn’t seem to handle the track at all. He’s better judged on his Grade 1 success in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot two starts back. Needs respecting back right-handed but his best form has come on more testing ground than likely today.
6:30 – Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase – 3m ½ f
Just four go to post and three are trained by Willie Mullins. However, they do include Monkfish & Envoi Allen.
Monkfish maintained his unbeaten record over fences when winning at Cheltenham. Stays well and could get the run of the race out in front.
Envoi Allen lost his unbeaten record when falling at the fourth in the Marsh Novices Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time. First run beyond 2m 5f but he should stay 3m. Cheltenham aside he’s 3-3 with good in the going description.
Improving mare Colreevy made it 4-4 over fences when winning the new Mares Chase at Cheltenham. Getting the mares allowance brings her into the mix here. She’s 3-3 at Punchestown and provided the ground isn’t too quick I can see her running a big race.
Hopefully some of you were on Mooneista yesterday. Today’s selection comes from the Punchestown Festival.
6:30 – Colreevy – 7/1 @ Bet365
Good luck with your Tuesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk