Danny Mullins is back with more expert analysis on the final day of Punchestown.
14:50 - Colm Quinn BMW Group Handicap Chase
Mister Fogpatches ran a great race to finish fourth in the Scottish National. This has probably come around a little bit quicker than we’d like, Pat Fahy was keen to have a go at the prize money here.I think he’ll run a big race in it, but the slight concern is that he ran only two weeks ago.
The Irish National winner, Freewheelin Dylan is in here too and he’s likely to bounce out and set a good pace. It’s an open race and it’s hard to nail your colours to the mast but Young Dev is the one in here who could be on the improve.
He won at Navan over 3m earlier in the year but was a little disappointing there later on in March. However, he followed up at Fairyhouse with a good second under Jody Townend. He could be the one who is a little bit of value.
15:20 - Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
Concertista is a deserved favourite. Her run at Cheltenham sets the standard - it’s a proper level of form. She was just beaten by Black Tears and Roksana was back in third. That’s as solid as anything gets here. I wonder if Concertista didn’t quite see the trip out at Cheltenham and that’s why she got beat. She could be a better mare better back at 2m.
The other two from Willie are going to give her plenty to think about. I take the ride on Stormy Ireland and I think she has a great chance in it. She sees out 2m4f really well, winning the last day at Fairyhouse to beat French Dynamite who ran a solid race earlier in the week. Over this distance, she could find the 5lb improvement needed on ratings to beat Concertista.
Burning Victory is off the track since last year’s Triumph. She seems to be in good shape at home, but it looks a very competitive race for her to win first run back. Stranger things have happened, but I’d probably be thinking the other two of Willie’s have a better chance.
Skyace was a good winner at Fairyhouse which backed up a solid run at Cheltenham. She beat Gauloise, who won earlier in the week, so that form is quite solid, but she definitely needs to find another 5-10lb to win this.
16:00 - Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1)
This is pretty much a rematch of the horses that ran in the Triumph and Quilixios looked a very impressive winner of that race. The only concern is Henry De Bromhead’s horses hadn’t been firing this week. Bob Olinger is a non-runner due to a cough and that would have to be in the back of your mind. Honeysuckle’s win would have alleviated a few of those concerns though.
You have to wonder if Zanahiyr and Haut En Couluers can reverse the form from Cheltenham and I think they could. I would be siding with the latter.
He didn’t have a prep run and was third at Cheltenham and I think there’s a little bit of improvement to come out of him. There’s very little between him and Zanahiyr on Triumph form, but it was only his first run for Willie so there could be more to come.
I take the ride on Saint Sam who ran quite a decent race to finish second in the Boodles. He gave away a stone to Jeff Kidder that day and that’s a decent level of form. He finished 5l behind Quilixios at the Dublin Festival and I don’t think he’s turn around that form but he will run a big race and could be an each-way play.
16:30 - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase (Grade B)
I ride Judgement Day and he’s been running well enough lately. The form from Clonmel reads OK but he’d probably have to improve a little bit here. He has an outsiders chance and hopefully he’ll run well.
Brahma Bull isn’t the best jumper but he’s definitely got a big pot in him. He was disappointing on his last couple of runs but if you get back to his earlier run in November, where he was 7l behind Minella Indo, that form is good enough to win a big handicap under top-weight.
17:05 - BARONERACING.COM Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)
Lady Breffni won well the last day in Fairyhouse over 3m and we were happy to see she stayed the distance no problem. She’s got an extra few pounds to shoulder here, but I don’t think it will inconvenience her too much and we’re hopeful of a big run.
17:40 - Colm Quinn BMW Group Mares Handicap Hurdle
I thought Klassy Kay was going to run a decent race when coming down at Fairyhouse. She was coming off the pace and all of the first three home came home late. She’s a course and distance winner and I think off a mark of 107 there’s a little bit to work with. Willie’s horses are in great form and you couldn’t rule her out.