Punchestown Festival –
(Day 1) (Day 2) (Day 3) (Day 4) (Day 5)
Saturday 28th April 2018
We’ve reached the final day of the Punchestown Festival of 2018 and what a week it’s been. I’d go as far as saying it’s been my favourite part of the National Hunt season this time around. Absolutely phenomenal.
Willie Mullins has once again retained his crown by for the Trainers Championship by going into Day 5 with an unassailable advantage of over 500,000. Here’s my views on the final day of Punchestown 2018…..
2.35 – Dooley Insurances Cross Country Chase (3m)
THE CRAFTY BUTCHER – (7/2)
(Was quite an expensive one to follow last term in big handicaps however he does have talent. Could go very close here if he adjusts to this sphere adequately.)
3.10 – Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase (Grade B) (3m)
MAJOR DESTINATION – (5/1) (E/W)
(Won well when last seen however that was a while ago and he comes here fresh, could be well handicapped here on handicap debut.)
3.50 – Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 4f)
APPLE’S JADE – (6/4)
(I’m a big fan of Benie Des Dieux and I think she’ll put up a bold showing once again here but I think Apple’s Jade performed way below her normal rating at Cheltenham. If back to near her best again here she should be making amends.)
4.25 – Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m)
The final Grade 1 contest of the 2018 Punchestown Festival comes in the form of the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle that’s ridden over a distance of two miles and features a field full of just Mullins & Elliott horses.
It see’s Triumph winner and runner up Farclas and Mr Adjudicator take each other on in again in what is sure to be another cracking spectacle. Both once again obviously posses huge chances.
Stormy Ireland also reappears here a horse that the Mullins camp think very highly of, she was a bit too free at Cheltenham which seemed to ultimately be here demise before falling.
The one i’m going to take a chance on here though at a big price is SALDIER another contender for Willie Mullins in the Ricci silks. He was fifth in the Triumph at Cheltenham and third the last day behind another two of today’s rivals in Saglawy and Mitchouka. I was impressed with his run that day as he stayed on well at the end and that looked a nice prep run for this. Mullins was said to pleased with that performance and he could go well at a big price.
SALDIER – (20/1) (E/W)
5.00 – Boylesports Handicap Chase (3m 6f)
AUGUSTIN – (5/1) (E/W)
(Stayed on well the last day after seemingly looking in trouble. Step up in trip here likely to suit him well and could put on a bold showing.)
FOREVER GOLD – (9/1) (E/W)
(Ran a great race when third in the Irish National this year and if fully recovered and repeating a run of that calibre should be in the mix of it again here.)
5.35 – Ballymore Handicap Hurdle (2m 4f) (Grade B)
DREAM BERRY – (10/1) (E/W)
(Stayed on in eyecatching fashion the last day at Cheltenham and ran a blinding race when second here last year. Likely to be primed for this and a bold showing would be far from a surprise.)
6.10 – INH Flat Race (2m)
DLAURO – (2/1)
(A very expensive purchase following an impressive win in a maiden point. Could well open his account for new connections here.)
NAP: Apple’s Jade – 3.50
NB: Dlauro – 6.10
3.35 – Bet 365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Class 1) (Grade 3) (3m 5f)
STEP BACK – (10/1) (E/W)
(A lot more progressive than most of this field and there’s likely a lot more to come from him. Made late ground when running here in February which suggests this step up in trip should suit. Could play a big role here.)