Sir Des Champs and Tranquil Sea (e/w) made it a winning day for us yesterday at the Punchestown Festival. Day 3 sees Cheltenham Festival winners, Quevega and Solwhit go head-to-head in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
3.40 – Marito (6/4) is a strong fav in the opening race of the day in what is his first run over hurdles this year. He was running a big race in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before falling and he can get his confidence back with a win over hurdles.
4.15 – A competitive handicap chase with Barneys Honour (5/1) making the most appeal. The Gordon Elliott trained runner warmed up for this race with an easy win over hurdles at Wexford only six days ago and looks set to run a big race.
4.50 – The La Touche Cup is one of the main spectacles of Punchestown week and the 17 runner race is headlined by Big Shu who won the cross-country chase at Cheltenham last month. He may struggle to win again as a number of his rivals will be on better terms in the weights. Arabella Boy (9/2) was the beaten fav at Cheltenham but is a previous winner at Punchestown and is good enough to win today.
5.30 – The feature race of the day looks sure to be one of the races of the season between Solwhit (6/4) and Quevega (2/1). The Willie Mullins mare has won the last three runnings of this race and will receive 7lbs from Solwhit. Charles Byrnes’ runners couldn’t be arriving in better form following wins in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree but Quevega will be the fresher horse having not run since the Festival. Reve de Sivola was highly fancied at Cheltenham for the World Hurdle but didn’t have race conditions in his favour and he rates a live outsider to Quevega.
6.05 – A 25 runner handicap hurdle and a difficult looking betting race. Edward O’Grady almost scored with Tranquil Sea yesterday and his Acapulco (10/1) is an interesting contender with Barry Geraghty in the saddle.
6.40 -A strong line up for Ryanair Novice Chase with four runners disputing favoritism. Alderwood (11/2) was an impressive winner at the Cheltenham Festival but was beaten at the Aintree Grand National meeting. The fast ground and the tighter Aintree track wouldn’t have suited him and today’s conditions will be more in his favour.
7.15 – A small field for the Mares Novices Hurdle with Upsie (Evs) looking a strong fav in a weak race. She was highly impressive on her hurdling debut at Naas and can score under Ruby Walsh.
7.45 – The concluding race of the day where Tony Martin’s Quickpick Vic (8/1) looks an upward curve. A winner at Naas, he ran a good race at the Aintree bumper and is sure to improve enough to get in contention here.