Alan Marron looks forward to day two of the Punchestown Festival.
Kemboy is his nap for the second day of action. Alan picked out Blue Templar, Un De Sceaux, and Front View in his day one preview.
3.40 Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap
Rock De Baune is the most interesting horse in this race following on from his last run at Leopardstown at Christmas where he finished fifth behind Cuneo. The horse that finished sixth that day was Sire Du Berlais , who went on to win well at Cheltenham.
Rock De Baune has not been seen since which suggests to me that this race could be a plan. On 24th October 2017 he beat a horse called Klassical Dream in a French hurdle. Klassical Dream went on to win the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier this season, and of course the Champion Novice Hurdle on day one at Punchestown.
4.20 Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final
Voix Des Tiep is the sort of horse that Willie Mullins excels with at this stage of the season and could turn out to be a decent one next year. A solid bumper performer last year he has improved with each run this season. His three runs this season in maiden hurdles have been very solid to say the least. The distance should be spot on and a big run is expected.
4.55 Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle
Paloma Blue has some really strong formlines over the larger obstacles this season and was a leading contender for the Arkle at Cheltenham. He reverts back to hurdles this time around and should be a leading contender in this race. In 2018 he was third to Samcro in the Deloitte Novice at Leopardstown which is standout in this company. Willie Mullins has a couple of horses to keep an eye on in this race as they are both returning after long layoffs.
5:30 Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
This race has strength in depth this year and could be one for the notebook for next season in terms of the staying chase division. Allaho ran a cracker of a race to finish second to Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham last time out. He is relatively inexperienced in relation to some of his rivals here but should he have come on for his Cheltenham run he will be a tough nut to crack here.
6:05 Punchestown Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade 1)
The feature race of the day and probably of the meeting will see Willie Mullins’ star chasers take each other on. Al Boum Photo was the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and did it impressively, whereas Kemboy fell at Cheltenham and went on to redeem himself by winning at Aintree. Kemboy is the one for me with the most potential and has a turn of foot also. This is my nap of Day Two.
6:40 Racing Post App Champion INH Flat Race (Grade 1)
Colreevy is a very interesting runner in this race. The most interesting thing is that Willie Mullins stays down the bumper route after she finished down the field in the 2018 Champion Bumper. She won the mares bumper at Punchestown last season and then finished a very creditable third to Gypsy Island last time out. Should be a decent price in this contest and could be very competive.
7.10 Guinnes Handicap Chase (Grade A)
Class Conti takes a big step up in grade following his win around Tramore last time out. He is a bit of an unknown quantity in this race and it is interesting that Paul Townend keeps the ride. With the way the weather has turned out he will like every drop of rain that falls. The softer the ground the better his chance. His handicap rating of 147 may really underestimate how good he is.
7.45 Weatherby’s General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares UNH Flat Race (Grade 3)
Gypsy Island has turned out to be a very very good mare this season and it will take an exceptional one to beat her in this race. She won very easily at Fairyhouse last time out and the trainer has a high opinion of her. Should Colreevy win the previous race that will frank the form nicely.