Punchestown Festival 2017 – Day 3

Going into the third day following one of the best races i’ve ever seen in yesterday’s Gold Cup. Djakadam, Sizing John and Coneygree all battling it out in an absolutely outstanding finish which will take some beating….

4.50 – I’ll start things off with the 4 mile 1 Cross Country Chase which is headed by an Edna Bolger hotpot in Cantlow.  He was third in the Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival and placed in a same type of event there on Trial Days which is clearly the form of the race and the reason he will be short odds for a trainer who is a master of these events. If you are looking for a couple to take the favourite on with for value i’d look at the other Bolger runner Love Rory (6/1). He hasn’t been at his best season this season but was a dual winner here back in 2014, he ran out last time at Downpatrick however could bounce back and get in the frame here. Another one I like as an each way chance is Mtada Supreme (10/1) for Peter Maher. He performed very well at this meeting last season when winning a 3 mile contest, he was also fourth to Cantlow when the two met in November, he certainly has a decent chance to get in the frame on that form. Cantlow (4/7) hard to beat though if the race at Cheltenham hasn’t taken too much out of him.

5.30 – Grade 1 Champion Stayers now and this race really has taken it out of me when trying to dissect it. It’s full of horses that i’m a big admirer of so it’s certainly been a tough one when coming to a conclusion. Willie Mullins Nichols Canyon heads affairs following his win in the Stayers at Cheltenham, he’s a multiple Group 1 winner and and is certainly the one to beat following that Cheltenham success. A horse that also performed superbly that day at big odds is another i’m a huge fan of in Lil Rockerfella, he’s a horse that gives it his all in every run and just missed out when behind Nichols Canyon at Cheltenham, he certainly has what it takes to be there or thereabouts again today. Sutton Place for Gordon Elliot is an interesting one, he comes in to this a lot fresher than most of these and has five wins from five to his name and has looked impressive in all of those victories. He is unproven on good ground though as he is the trip but if he does get both with no real issue he could be a big danger to all. Footpad (16/1)  for Willie Mullins also goes into unknown territory with the trip but has some big runs to his name this season when second in the Irish Champion and fourth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. I do like this horse a lot and I will be backing him here as an each way selection as he’s currently at very backable odds. The horse I will be siding with here though is a horse that i’ve said numerous times on this blog is one of my favourite National Hunt horses in Unowhatimeanharry (9/2) for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily. He was third in the Stayers at Cheltenham when sent off a short priced favourite before winning his previous eight starts. He still traveled well that day and remains a top drawer staying horse of which I’ll be staying loyal to here. Footpad is the each way option.

6.05 Handicap Hurdle, a Phill Hobbs horse leads the way here in No Comment. He was seventh at Cheltenham and ran well at Aintree when second respectively. A repeat of the latter would obviously see him there or thereabouts again had them two runs not taken it out of him. The first one I do like here though is Minella Awards (11/1) for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily. He’s very lightly raced compared to most and was second to the favourite back at Plumpton in January when giving him 10. I tipped him up on here when he collected victory in a Group 3 at Sandown last time out and I think he’s a great price here to get in the frame again. Another one I like is Kate Appleby Shoes (11/1) for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. She has an impressive 40% strike winning her last two starts and shapes to relish this trip. However her last two wins have come on soft to heavy so the ground may be a concern. I think she’s still decent enough odds to take a chance on though.

6.40 Ryanair Novice Chase, Grade 1 action now and another Willie Mullins chance heads affairs here in Great Field at short odds. He’s a front runner that is a very exciting prospect and has won all three of his starts over the fences so far this season. He’ll set a blistering pace here and will be very hard to get too should he stay up and put in a clear round of jumping. A few each way selections I like if you do want value and fancy taking the favourite on with are firstly Ordinary World (7/1) for Henry de Bromhead and Davy Russell. I’ve backed this horse a few times at huge odds throughout this season and he’s put in several very good runs getting in the frame. He was behind Altior at the Cheltenham Festival in third and was second behind Min at Leopardstown. Another one I like each way here is another Willie Mullins runner in Townshend (9/1). He put in an impressive round of jumping when winning what was a fairly week chase at Naas. He is up in class here but I still believe he might have enough to get in the frame. Great Field (5/4) will be hard to beat though for Mullins if he does stay up.

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