Tuesday 26th April 2022
Punchestown Festival 2022
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
The first race I’ll be taking a look at is the 3:40 which is the Mares’ Novice Hurdle that’s contested over a distance of two miles and half of a furlong. Dinoblue heads the betting here for Willie Mullins, but I’ve gone for the Gordon Elliott mare in Party Central who’s a 7/2 chance under Davy Russell. She won a Listed contest at this track back in December, and is no stranger to the winners enclosure having won five of her nine starts. When last seen at Cheltenham in March, she finished seventh of nineteen in the Grade 2 Mares Novices’ event, if you watch that race back you’ll see her travelling easily into the race before not finding a great deal up the hill. One thing to note from that effort though is that the Elliott yard wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders back then, and after a few winners at Aintree earlier in the month things look to be picking up again. If on-song I think she’s a massive player in this.
It’s the 4:50 I’m going to take a look at next which is a Handicap Hurdle that’s also contested over two miles and a half of a furlong. I’ve actually sided with two in this particular affair, the first of which comes in the form of Farout at 7/1 for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. He’s been tried in Grade 1 company throughout most of the campaign, finishing fourth behind Statuaire, third behind Mighty Potter and a very distant fifth behind Sir Gerhard. On his penultimate outing he ran a decent race at Cheltenham in the Grade 3 County Hurdle before flopping when favourite for a handicap at Fairyhouse last time. I still believe there is a smart horse in him and connections clearly believe that as well, having tried him in such hot company. If putting his run the last time behind him he could prove too good for some of these. The other one I like is Great Bear at 12/1 for Henry De Bromhead and Darragh O’Keefe. This will be his first start for the stable having recently been under the care of Thomas Gibney, he’d been running on the flat throughout the summer but he did have some decent hurdling form to his name having finished third in a novices’ handicap at this meeting last year. I’ve always thought that this horse could have a big handicap pot in him at some point, and a move to a powerhouse stable could just unlock it here.