Punchestown Festival 2019 – Day 1

Long-time no speak! Hopefully, you didn’t miss me too much over Aintree and Ayr, and that you had a really strong end of the season at Sandown. The Irish jumping season comes to an end in spectacular style at Punchestown, and we’ve got some corking races to start the first of an amazing five days.


UPDATE: After some weather watching, have considered a couple of plays in the Champion Novice and then the Champion Chase. Keep an eye on this space.


Flat fans don’t need to worry either – you might just be getting your fill this week. Onwards we go, with Day 1…..






3:40 – Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase For The Ladies Perpetual Cup (5YO plus): Always fun to watch but hardly the most appealing betting contest and the default choice is Blue Templar, who is taking a big drop in class here and who has finished third and second in renewals of the race that were no stronger than this. Derek O’Connor’s booking on Youcannotbeserious will probably earn him an awful lot of play in the betting ring despite a long absence and they have the outstanding recent form claims.



Advice: No bet.



4.20 – Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+): This might not be as straightforward as the market suggests for Klassical Dream on good ground over a sharp track, but he was a deeply impressive winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle who did get the better of stablemate Aramon when the pair met on good ground in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.


The fact both Felix Desjy (1st) and Aramon (2nd) have run in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree since probably helps his cause, as does the fact that impressive Royal Bond winner Quick Grabim has had an injury since. Aramon and Quick Grabim are of particular interest on this surface, but Klassical Dream can go right to the top.


Champagne Platinum is the unknown quantity here. He has impressed with his two wins in a maiden and introductory hurdle, although the form of both has not worked out brilliantly and the fact he missed Cheltenham with a  foot injury isn’t ideal either. We could see the best of him next season.



Mister Blue Sky is the outsider of this small but select field, which says something given that in his three starts he has finished second in a Listed contest and then won a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse. That form obviously needs improving on, but Punchestown should suit a horse with his flat speed and he’s not one to sleep on.



Advice (UPDATE): The weather doesn’t look to have done too much and the prices are too big, so a chance is taken on Aramon and Felix Desjiy each/way.

Back: 1 pt each/way Felix Desjiy (9/1 Sportingbet), 1 pt each/way Aramon (12/1 general)  



Ante Post: 1 pt each/way Klassical Dream, 2020 Champion Hurdle (10/1 general), 1 pt each/way Klassical Dream, 2020 Arkle (8/1 general)




4.55 – Killashee Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+): As trappy a Grade B handicap as you’re likely to see. Sancta Simona might well appreciate a first chance to run over 2 miles on good ground since finishing second to Supreme Novices’ 6th and subsequent dual Grade 1 second Aramon, having probably found the ground too tacky at the Cheltenham Festival and the trip too far at Fairyhouse. 131 is a fair mark and she could go well. Konitho and Golden Spear should be involved from the top of the market but this is very open.

Advice: 1 pt each/way Sancta Simona (15/2 Paddy Power)




5.30 – BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): 4/7 is too short to take about Min, despite his brilliant win at Aintree in the Melling Chase, and Un De Secaux was a disappointment in the Ryanair although his Tingle Creek form would give him a serious shout. One of interest here is Great Field, who looked lethal when winning the Grade 1 novice over this distance last year and then when dotting up on his reappearance this season. He’s fallen on both starts this season, although he’d set a very good gallop and had mostly jumped well in the Paddy’s Rewards Chase. He can go well, but that’s three front runners who are the first three in the market and when you add Hell’s Kitchen there that’s a giant amount of pace. In play shrewdies should time the early fractions and look towards Ordinary World, who has often closed quite well.



Advice: Watch and enjoy, but consider Ordinary World and Castlegrace Paddy in play to place 




6.05 – Goffs Land Rover Bumper (4YO to 5YO): No bet here but a race to keep an eye on given the recent roll of honor, which includes Petit Mouchoir, Coeur De Lion, Vision Des Flos and Commander of Fleet. It’s probably quite significant that Nicky Henderson has sent Son of Camas over for the Sullivans, with Patrick Mullins booked, but he’s 2/1 already. Robert Tyner has won two of the last three renewals and his Fiston De Becon (related to a Listed-placed hurdler in France makes the most appeal with Derek O’Connor taking the ride, although 5/1 already at the time of writing is about short enough.



Gordon Elliot has taken two of the last four renewals so Festival D’Ex, the mount of Jamie Codd, will be entitled to a lot of respect whilst Champagne Diva is a half-sister to Champagne Fever. Watch the market for any moves relating to Gigginstown’s Bulldoze and Flanking Maneuverer, given that they’ve had two Grade 1 winners take this.



Advice: No bet.



6.40 – Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): A belting contest with the market focusing on three horses; RSA Chase third Delta Work, brilliant Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard, and Getabird of Willie Mullins’. The way A Plus Tard won at Cheltenham was spellbinding and over this trip we should see a huge run, but Delta Work’s third in the RSA Chase is some of the strongest novice form of the season in any context and there was no shame in losing his unbeaten record that way. He travelled best that day before just flattering out, and he should hopefully be fresh enough to do himself justice on just his second run since Christmas.



Getabird has looked like a step up in trip would suit for a little while, and he was cruising in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase before he stepped through the top of the last and stumbled twice on on landing. It’s notable that Ruby Walsh chose to ride him over a whole host of rides at Leopardstown that day, but he must answer the question of taking a step up in class today and he needs to race calmly too over this three miles. Winter Escape got the better of A Plus Tard when the two last met but he’s burst a blood vessel since and possibly doesn’t have the strongest constitution. Discorama’s second in the National Hunt Chase could have left a mark and he was well beaten behind Delta Work in the Drinmore, whilst drovers Lane was well behind in the RSA Chase.



Advice: 2 pts win Delta Work (7/4 general)




7.15 – Sanctuary Synthetics INH Flat Race (4yo): The second of many bumpers to come over the week and there might be a bet here in the shape of Front View, who ran into the Champion Bumper second at Gowran in January when sent off favourite to beat him, and who was coming smoothly into his next contest at Naas before being unfortunately brought down. That form reads well (he was 14 lengths ahead of the third at Gowran) and he should be upto going close. Zambezi Fix is one of a select few Chevley Park runners who they have had great success wth this season and it might not be a coincidence that these are the exact same connections who won the Champion bumper with Envoi Allen. Farceur De Large was a beaten but creditable third in a Listed Gowran Bumper on debut and should be going close again whilst Joseph O’Brien debuts a half-brother to Kalopsia (his useful dual code winner) in the shape of Tallaann Gael. If The West Awaits got a run (currently 26th, and first reserve), then the Flemensifrth filly in the Coolmore colors would be a pretty instant fancy.

Advice: 1 pt win Front View (11/4 general)