Punchestown Preview : Thursday 29th April

Punchestown: one of the very best of racecourses

Alan Marron is back to preview Day 3 of the Punchestown Festival.

We got an excellent start to Day Two yesterday folks with Guiri winning at 9/1 and we had three placed selections at double figure odds also. Hopefully we can get more of the same today. 


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3.40 Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle (88-123) of €20,000.00 4-y-o plus 2m. 40yds

JP Mc Manus opened Day Two with a winner and he has a very strong chance of doing the same here with the Tony Martin trained GOLF MARIN.

This horse is very lightly raced and has some strong form in the book. He finished fifth here at Punchestown behind the Willie Mullins trained Frere Tuck and even though he was well beaten the form has been boosted since. The third has won twice since and the fourth finished second in a Grade One.

He finished sixth at Navan behind Five Helmets last time and will face him again here but I think the bigger field will suit Golf Marin and he will be able to settle in off the pace and travel away.

With luck in running I think he will be very hard to keep out of the frame.



4.15 Pigsback.com Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) of €50,000.00 4-y-o plus 2m.

In what looks a very competitive renewal of this race, owner JP Mc Manus could be in line for a quick double on the card with SULLY D’OC AA who is trained by Anthony Honeyball in the UK.

This horse was unlucky not to get much closer to The Shunter at the Cheltenham Festival but he ran a respectable race to finish back in 8th. He improved off the back of that next time when he was second to Editeur De Gite in a Grade Three at Ascot and has subsequently been raised five pounds for that run.

He will have cheekpieces applied here and that should help him concentrate a little more and hopefully rule out some jumping errors.

Simon Torrens will take three pounds off his back and fresh from success on Guiri, Simon will be looking to get another winner on the board. Solid each way chance here.



4.50 Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Steeplechase of €30,000.00 5-y-o plus 4m. 2f.

We are back over the banks here for the “La Touche Cup” and the one horse that really catches the eye for me is the John Mc Connell trained SOME NECK.

Anyone who followed my Cheltenham previews will know that this enigmatic grey got a favourable mention and ran a very good race to finish third behind Tiger Roll. He looks to be nicely weighted in this race with Ben Harvey back aboard claiming 7lbs and he knows the horse well having won on him at Cheltenham back in November.

The trip and ground should be no issue considering he has won on better ground when trained by Willie Mullins and it looks like this discipline has reinvigorated his love for the game.

Will be very hard to beat here.



5.25 Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) of €250,000.00 4-y-o plus 3m.

Many of the runners here are arriving on the back of a long hard season but the one horse that will arrive fresh having missed Cheltenham is RONALD PUMP.

This horse was last seen giving Honeysuckle quite a scare in the Bar One Racing.Com Hattons Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse when he flew home in the dying strides to be only beaten half a length.

He had been second to Lisnagar Oscar in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham back in 2020 and this could be where he gets his time to shine. He looks to have plenty in his favour and while he may have to improve on the ratings to put it up to Flooring Porter I think he has the potential to do that.

He will be the one hopefully staying on late and fast and should have too much for the opposition.



6.00 Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) of €50,000.00 4-y-o plus 3m

This race is ultra competitive but the horse that catches my eye is the Philip Fenton trained CARROLLS COTTAGE.

He has gone up 7lb in the handicap for his most recent win from 123 to 130 when successful in Limerick. He travelled and galloped all the way to the line on that occasion suggesting that there is plenty more to come and I think we could see that this time around.

There is no doubt that he looked to enjoy the better ground last time and he looks the type who could travel away in a big field and come with a late run close home. Its without doubt the toughest race on the card to try and solve.

A small each way chance at a double figure price here.



6.35 Ryanair Novice Steeplechase (Grade 1) of €115,000.00 5-y-o plus 2m

There is not much to say about this race as ENERGUMENE is very short in the market and will likely take a world of beating.

He unfortunately missed the clash with Shishkin at Cheltenham but this should be very straightforward. He is electric over his fences and looks a very special talent.

From a betting point of view I would see what prices are available for the distance market and go for the over distance. I think he could win by ten lengths or more here which would set him up nicely for next season.

Will be very hard to beat.



7.05 Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed) of €30,000.00 4-y-o plus 2m. 40yds.

This is the one race on the card that I am really looking forward to due to the fact that Denise Foster and Jack Kennedy team up with BIGBADANDBEATIFUL.

This mare was very good in bumpers where she was a three time winner and she showed what an engine she had when victorious at Navan in her maiden hurdle. Her jumping was very sketchy at times but Robbie Power gave her an excellent ride knowing that her speed would kick in and she got there to win going away.

There is no doubt she will have been well schooled for this race and she comes in here as very unexposed.

She is the best bet of the day for me and will be my NAP of Day Three.



7.35 Grant Thornton (C & G) Flat Race of €11,000.00 4/7-y-o 2m. 40yds

John Mc Connell and Ben Harvey could be in line for a double on the card when they team up with very impressive first time out winner BARDENSTOWN LAD.

This horse won by 15 lengths on debut in a point to point bumper in Tipperary but he looked very good that day and hopefully he can show something similar this time around.

He will be dropping back in trip but that shouldn’t really inconvenience him as he travelled so well last time and galloped away from his rivals.

He looks very smart and I think he could take plenty of beating here.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article