Alan Marron has a run-down of the eight race card on day four of the Punchestown.
Alan’s nap landed for a third day in a row with his preview yesterday.
3.40 KFM Hunters Chase for the Bishopscourt Cup
Alpha Male winner of this race last year should oblige again this time around. It’s a race that lacks real strength in depth and no runner from the Enda Bolger stable. Point to point form is hard to gauge in these races. Alpha Male had Barry O Neill on board last year and again this time. Should be a short price but will take all the beating.
4.20 EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (Grade A)
These handicaps are competitive as normal but the notebook watchers should be out again in force. If we go back to the Leinster National at Naas on March 10th, De Name Escapes Me travelled supremely well to 3 out and then didn’t get home. The horse that finished second that day was Isleofhopenanddreams and he went on to frank the form and be second in the Irish Grand National. Niall Madden is on board De Name Escapes Me again in this race and back over a suitable distance it would not be a surprise to me to see him loom up on the bridle at the second last and win well. He will be a very fresh horse as he hasn’t run since March and that has proved a major advantage already this week.
4.55 Hanlon Concrete Irish EBF Glencarrig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase (Grade B)
We are over the larger obstacles with the mares for this race and it is something of a punting minefield to say the least. As mentioned in the preview for Day three, the stable of Denis Hogan is one to keep an eye on. Moyhenna is an interesting runner here for me. She won a Grade 2 Mares Novice Chase by 25 lengths last time out and this race could be somewhat of a plan. Her jumping has improved from earlier in the season where she had a couple of mishaps and should that be avoided then she could be value in a trappy race.
5.30 Punchestown Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
One of the highlights of the week is the feature on Day 4 and for me we could see the wondermare Apple’s Jade come back to her brilliant best. Her runs at Cheltenham and Aintree this year have lacked her usual spark but Gordon Elliott has had time to freshen her up and I can see her taking this field apart. For me Buveur D’Air has had a long season and is a shadow of his former self, Supasundae was impressive at Aintree but the ground was very soft. Apple’s Jade should be favourite in this race for me and may well go off favourite closer to the race. My nap of Day 4.
6.05 Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
The raiding party from across the water will be looking for another winner following on from O O Seven on Day two and it most definitely could come in this race with the Colin Tizzard trained Reserve Tank. I have followed this horse all season and he has done nothing but improve with each race. He is a bit of a “tank” in size and will make a lovely chaser next season. His win at Aintree was no shock to me as he is really getting the hang of things and he returned a juicy 20/1. There will be none of that available this time around. Punchestown is a galloping track and has a long home straight. This is perfect for this horse as he showed when winning at Sandown and Kempton, all he does is stay.
6.35 Star Best for Racing Coverage Champion Hunter Chase
Caid Du Berlais looks the safest option in this race for UK trainer Rose Loxton. Formally trained by Paul Nicholls this horse is looking for a repeat win in this race after a demolition job last year where he won by 21 lengths. His run at Cheltenham was too bad to be true when he was pulled up before two out. The opposition looks to lack a real star in this race and with doubts over many of his rivals he could be value at a decent price.
7.10 Salessense International Novice Hurdle
Annamix has been a talking horse around Closutton for a long time and finally won his maiden last time out when he beat Raya Time at Clonmel. The booking of Robbie Power is interesting because this horse needs to be kidded into doing his job and Robbie is no better man to do so. He will be decent price in this and could really be underestimated.
7.45 GVA Donal O’Buachalla Property INH Flat Race
Point to point form can be key in some of the bumpers that occur at this time of the year. Derek O Connor was on board Longhouse Poet when he won at Boulta back in January for Sam Curling and it is interesting that he keeps the ride here on the horses first run under rules for Martin Brassil. Sean Mulryan the owner has had good success recently in these colours and this horse could be one to watch for the future.