Punchestown Festival 2018:
Day 1 Day 2
Wednesday 25th April 2018
As we move on to Day Two of the Punchestown Festival we have to reflect on what an action packed and eventful Day One it was.
First blood went to Mullins with Draconien winning the Champion Novice Hurdle then he followed up with wins in the big handicap with True Self and a 1-2 in the Champion Chase with Un De Sceaux and Douvan.
Gordo was never going to lie down though and he responded with a 1-2-3 in the Bumper and followed up with another 1-2-3 in the Grade 1 Novice Chase after one of the most controversial finishes you’ll ever see.
Here’s my lowdown on Day Two….
3.40 – Series Final Handicap Hurdle (2m 5f)
KILLARO BOY – (12/1) (E/W)
(Comes here off a 20 pound lower mark than his chasing rating, was brought down in the Irish National the last day and could well get involved here.)
FINE THEATRE – (18/1) (E/W)
(Was also brought down in the Irish National the last day, this time 10 pounds lower than chase rating and is lightly raced in this sphere.)
4.20 – Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle (2m 4f)
SIRE DU BERLAIS – (15/8)
(Fourth in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival the last day and has a bit of class about him. Should be going very close here in this company.)
4.55 – Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle (Class 1) (Grade 1) (3m)
The first Grade One of Day Two of the Punchestown Festival comes in the form of the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle ridden over three miles.
It see’s the very smart Next Destination heading affairs for Willie Mullins on the back of his third placed effort in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival. He stayed on well that day to be third when looking very outpaced which obviously gives the impression he should go really well here over three miles.
Kilbricken Storm is next up in the betting for Colin Tizzard who was this year’s Albert Bartlett winner at Cheltenham. He should also be bang there if on his game here but i’m going to try and take him on with a horse who was fourth behind him at Cheltenham and that’s BALLYWARD. He’s likely to build massively on that run on Cheltenham and ran an impressive race on this type of ground the time before. He’s trading at a general 13/2 which I think is a more than generous price.
BALLYWARD – 13/2 (E/W)
5.30 – Punchestown Gold Cup (Class 1) (Grade 1) (3m)
The feature race of Day Two of the Punchestown Festival of 2018 is of course the Punchestown Gold Cup a Grade 1 contest that’s ridden over three miles and saw one of the finishes of all time last year between Sizing John, Djakadam and Coneygree.
Most people who follow my blog on regular basis will of probably guessed where i’m going with my selection and that of course is the fact that i’m siding once again with DJAKADAM and I think i’ve got fairly decent ground to stand on when trying to justify such a decision.
Road To Respect heads affairs and probably rightly so. He was fourth in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on ground he didn’t like and that is solid form. He also beat the Ryanair winner over three miles at Leopardstown in Decemeber and if bringing that type of form to the table he’ll be very hard to beat.
The other horse I think that is up there with the favourite as a horse that could well prove tough to beat is Bellshill. He made a mighty return to action when carrying a penalty at Fairyhouse. He also looked the winner for a lot of the way in the Irish National before fading late on. If he has managed to come here unscathed from those exploits he should be bang there.
The other’s I feel all have questions hanging over them, Total Recall has had a very tough season and there’s still question marks hanging over Killultagh Vic’s jumping and his last run in the Gold Cup. So I believe if Djakadam puts in somewhere near the run he put in this last year, he should be up for challenging the likes of Road To Respect and Bellshill.
DJAKADAM – (7/1) (E/W)
6.05 – Champion I.N.H Flat Race (Grade 1) (2m)
BLACKBOW – (10/3)
(Raced too freely at Cheltenham when fifth in the Bumper there and if settling better here could well return to winning ways. The choice of Patrick Mullins.)
6.40 – Guinness Handicap Chase (Grade A) (2m 4f)
BLAST OF KOEMAN – (10/1) (E/W)
(Very consistent performer and likely to give his running once again. Trip shouldn’t be an issue at all.)
7.15 – Wetherbys Mares Flat Race (Grade 3) (2m)
COLREEVY – (7/4)
(Kept on well at Cheltenham up the hill against the boys, that’s the clear form of this race and she should really be making her presence felt here.)
NAP: Colreevy – 7.15
NB: Sire Du Berlais – 4.20