6 great picks in Punchestown on Sunday
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The action in Punchestown begins with a good renewal of the grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle with Willie Mullins represented by Dysart Dynamo and Hawai Game. The Closutton team have already won this race with Vautour, Douvan and Min and are looking to have more promising novice hurdles for the coming season. Hawai Game were a bit keen but did it the hard way by going all out to score on their Irish debut at Naas last month.
However, DYNAMO DYSART gets the vote after looking an exciting horse in all three wins, including a romp at Cork on his hurdles debut in early December. Flame Bearer, who finished fifth, was then an unlucky third behind Bronn earlier this month. Elsewhere it will be interesting to see the talent of Guily Billy after his easy win at Tramore, while Gringo D’aubrelle is in the best form in the book after his third at Stage Star in the Callow Hurdle at Newbury.
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Having recently tipped KILLER MODE (NAP) at Naas two weeks ago, I’m happy to keep confidence with Noel Meade’s runner in this premier split of the first 2 mile hurdle. The Gigginstown runner won his bumper in fine fashion at Naas in December before falling in a battle when second behind Bronn on his hurdles debut. Sean Flanagan will push forward to avoid trouble in such a big field and should close in on Goven who is looking for his biggest danger with a natural improvement from his race at Leopardstown.
Another big field for the second division of the first 2 mile hurdle where SUPREME JET is offered another scoring chance for Oliver McKiernan. The six-year-old is in good form in the book after finishing behind My Mate Mozzie and Eric Bloodaxe over the past year. A travel drop looks ideal here after his last run when he dropped to fourth at Limerick at Christmas. Early Jack In The Box seems to be Gordon Elliott and the Magnier family’s most interesting rival.
Bob Olinger has his second start on the fences in his build up to a return to the Cheltenham Festival in March. Having missed out on the winning race at Gowran Park, Rachael Blackmore is renewing her partnership with the Ballymore winner last year, and it will be fantastic to see this horse jump fences in public again. Gaillard Du Mesnil was second to Bob Olinger at Cheltenham and was brought into odds with stablemate Capodanno at Naas last month.
West Cork Wildway, Lieutenant Command and Lifetime Ambition are likely to run within reach and I imagine Rachael Blackmore will find a good position and look for cover behind these rivals. Bob Olinger is the talented short-price favorite and will take all the beating, with the most interesting battle the fight for second place. I hope that Gaillard Du Mesnil can reverse the form with his stablemate from Naas and land the right forecast behind seven-year-old Henry of Bromhead.
FIZZLESTICK surpassed his chances by finishing third in Concertista at Limerick at Christmas and could come close here in his second start on the fences for Conor O’Dwyer. Oscar’s daughter hasn’t managed to win on the racetrack yet, but it’s saying something that O’Dwyer placed her straight into Graded Company in her hunting debut. Yes, she was well beaten but she stayed valiantly to grab a place and was funny enough also third behind Honeysuckle in a first obstacle in 2018.
Elsewhere, Whiskey Lullaby will be popular on his second start as Willie Mullins was previously trained by Paul Nicholls. The seven-year-old can improve from her Irish debut when third at Limerick, while Galon De Vauzelle and My Uncas are other top contenders. Phillip Rothwell’s runner was a point-to-point winner for Liam Kenny at Lismore, while Henry de Bromhead’s horse was scored slightly better over hurdles.
Noel Meade’s side have been in consistent form over the past month and HENRY BROWN can take this pursuit with a handicap of 2m 4f. Mahler’s son finally showed improvement on the fences thanks to the application of blinders in Limerick over Christmas. Eoin Walsh is riding again and the slightly better terrain and trip drop should help in what looks like a moderate affair. The introduction of cheeks should help main danger Stealthy Tom with Jordan Gainford back in the saddle for Enda Bolger.
Sunday Punchestown Tips
*All prices are up to date with our stylish widgets, while copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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