Alan Marron previews the fifth and final day of the Punchestown Festival.
Alan has landed 13 winners in this year’s festival already including yesterday’s 13/2 winner of the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle, Reserve Tank.
2.35 Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chase
Blue Templar was victorious for the previews earlier in the week when he landed the Ladies Cup on Tuesday. This race is tougher but he is in cracking form and he will be a decent price against some talented rivals. Josies Orders looked like the long season had got him last time and there are question marks over the likes of Ballycasey and Hurricane Darwin
3.10 3m 7f Handicap Chase
This race has one of my favourite horses in training and I am still convinced that WP Mullins will work the oracle and get a big win out of Some Neck. For those who followed my Theystes preview, I was sweet on him then and he unseated. Last time out he went off favourite for the Grand National Trial at Punchestown. He finished sixth that day. David Mullins might be the set of hands this horse needs. Get him into a rhythm and see will he stay the marathon trip.
3.50 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
With Benie Des Diuex being a short priced favourite in this race the value may lie in the betting without market. There is one line of form that could pay dividends in this market. Honeysuckle one of the leading mares around, her last win has been franked by Elfile winning and Eglantine Du Seuil finishing third to Reserve Tank. The fourth mare that day was Tintangle who for me is massively overpriced in this race. She ran solid races at both Cheltenham and Fairyhouse and could easily follow the favourite home here.
4.25 AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1)
Fusil Raffles was not seen at either of the big festivals due to injury but Nicky Henderson is sure to have him well prepped for this race. His win at Kempton on his British debut was very eyecatching. He led after two out and drew clear to win easily. He will arrive here as a very fresh horse and Fusil Raffles will be my nap for day five.
5.00 Palmerstown House Pat Taafe Handicap Chase (Grade B)
Not a great race for the grade but there might be big value lurking among the outsiders. Full Cry has the advantage of Hugh Morgan claiming seven pounds here for his first run of the season. He finished fourth in the Munster National at Limerick last season under Hugh so they have a good rapport together. His course form is perfectly adequate for a race of this nature and could go close at a double figure price.
5.35 Ballymore Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)
This race is extremely competitive as normal but the most interesting horse in this for me is the Willie Mullins trained Stratum. He was campaigned mostly on the flat last season with runs in the Ebor and the Cesarewitch. He has a flat rating of 102 and if he appears in rude health here his hurdle rating of 142 might seem very lenient. He finished second to Mengli Khan in a novice hurdle back in 2017, we know he has ability and with a very shrewd owner we could know overnight whether this race has been a well thought of plan.
6.10 K Club Hotel & Resort INH Flat Race
This race is all about form and the Willie Mullins trained Tactical Move looks to have form that really stands out from the rest. He finished second in a point to point at Monksgrange behind a horse called Eden Du Houx now trained by David Pipe. Eden Du Houx has gone and won two bumpers since the point to point and one of them was a very decent bumper at Ascot before Christmas. The ground will be a bit of an unknown for Tactical Move but the overnight price for me will not be available by racetime should the point the point gurus have their study done.