Good morning all,
Clan Des Obeaux’s connections decided to roll the dice and supplement him for the Punchestown Gold Cup after his recent impressive Aintree win. It paid off too as the 9-year-old kept on strongly to beat Al Boum Photo.
Coming to four out there was still four in it. Kemboy who couldn’t get to the front was the first to crack, soon followed by Fakir D'oudairies whose stamina gave out.
That left Al Boum Photo as the only challenger to the leader. He seemed to be travelling as well as leader coming to three out but a mistake there handed the initiative to Clan Des Obeaux. Another mistake two out didn’t help and although he rallied after the last those mistakes proved costly.
Al Boum Photo’s connections will have wished that Clan Des Obeaux had stayed at home. However, it was good for the sport that they brought him over, as he provided us with a cracker of a race.
Inside today’s main piece I look at a few of the races on day three of the Punchestown Festival.
Punchestown Festival – Day 3
Just the two Grade 1’s today but there are also three big field handicaps for punters to get stuck into.
5:25 – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m
Flooring Porter set a strong gallop and was never headed when winning the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham last time. Not certain to get an easy lead here but will be hard to beat if reproducing his Cheltenham running today.
Beacon Edge finished 4th in the Stayers Hurdle. He was a little keen in the early stages. Coming to two out he looked the biggest danger to the leader but eventually lost two places on the run in. Still, it was a career best effort from the 7-year-old and he can get closer to Flooring Porter today.
Ronald Pump finished runner-up in last year’s Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle. He’s only had two starts this season and hasn’t been seen since finishing a ½-length 2nd of 6 to Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Each way claims if returning at his best.
An intriguing race and it could pay to take on the favourite with Beacon Edge & Ronald Pump.
6:35 – Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) – 2m
Energumene was forced to miss his clash with Shishkin at Cheltenham. Prior to that had looked one of the best 2m novice chasers either side of the Irish Sea. He faces four rivals here but should be able to set the pace and win this comfortably.
Captain Guinness finished third in the Arkle and had looked set for second behind Energumene in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown two starts back.
Janidil won a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse last time. That success came over 2m 4f and it was a much-improved performance from the 7-year-old who seemed to appreciate the drier ground. If stablemate Energumene, isn’t as effective on a sounder surface then Janidil could be the one to take advantage.
7:05 – Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed Race) – 2m
An interesting little race which provides today’s selection. Magic Daze heads the betting and will be tough to beat if building on the promise of her 2nd of 15 in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Given that was only her third career start it was an excellent effort and she could be capable of more progression. However, the De Bromhead runners haven’t been going brilliantly over the last last few days.
Gauloise was well behind the favourite at Cheltenham but that wasn’t her true running, as she showed when runner-up to Skyace in a Mares’ Grade 1 at Fairyhouse last time. I expect her to get much closer to Magic Daze here.
Besides Gauloise. Willie Mullins also saddles Hook Up who finished one place behind her stablemate at Fairyhouse and the interesting The West Awaits. The 6-year-old is only having her third start over hurdles and she seemed to appreciate the better ground when winning a Cork maiden hurdle 25-days ago. Open to more progress but does need to find plenty of improvement to beat her stablemates.
Bigbadandbeautiful, a useful bumper performer last season (won on the flat last summer), returned from an eight-month absence to win on her hurdle debut at Navan last month. Her jumping was novicey at times. However it didn’t stop her from winning very easily. Scope for plenty of improvement in the sphere and with a better round of jumping can take this.
Besides the handicaps this looks a competitive race. Magic Daze is sure to be popular after her Cheltenham run. However, I am happy to go with Bigbadandbeautiful. Although I was expecting a bigger price.
If you want the rest of Punchestown selections and Guineas Weekend picks. You can get them here.
Yesterday’s selection Manisanda was well backed but could only finish 5th in Punchestown’s concluding race. Today’s selection is once again from Punchestown.
7:05 – Bigbadandbeautiful – 5/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes
Good luck with your Thursday bets.