After strong words for Kilcruit and Galopin Des Champs yesterday, Danny Mullins is back with yet more expert insight on day three of the Punchestown Festival
15:40 - Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle
This is a tricky handicap where I ride Charcor. Noel Kelly thinks he has a decent chance in it, although he’s been off the track the best part of 200 days so it will be some training performance if he’s got him in good shape for this.
I wonder if Shakeytry for Edward O’Grady under Rachael Blackmore, who’s going to be trying to ride every winner this week, could be the one to follow. It’s not a race to be getting really stuck into though.
16:50 - Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (Grade B)
Polished Steel runs in the 2m chase and Jessica Harrington always does well at the Punchestown Festival but this one really needs to get back to her best. She has a bit of course form, where she was second in a Grade 3 chase here back in October, so if she can get back to that she might run well, but recent form leaves a lot to be desired.
17:25 - Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1)
Flooring Porter is a horse I know well having won on him in Cheltenham. I don’t see a reason why anything can turn around the form with him. He was very good that day and there was no fluke about it. I think he’s the one they're all going to have to beat.
If you’re going to have an each-way bet in it, I think Klassical Dream is interesting. He’s been off the track the best bit of 18 months but he seems to be in good nick at home. It didn’t work out for him the last season, and while he’s never ran anything near 3m before, he seems more chilled out in himself since he’s come back and he could be a bit of value.
18:35 - Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1)
I think this is going to be very straightforward for Energumene. Unfortunately he missed Cheltenham and he could have gone to Fairyhouse, but it probably would’ve been a rushed effort so Willie decided not to. They’ve stuck with him, got him right for Punchestown and he looks great. They’re all going to have to go a long way to beat him.
Captain Guinness has solid form with a good run behind Shishkin in the Arkle but I think he’s going to have to improve to get to this level. Janidil won nicely in Fairyhouse but he’ll need to step up again. I think this is going to be one-way traffic for Energumene.
19:05 - Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed Race)
Hook Up really disappointed at Cheltenham but came back with a nice run in Fairyhouse to finish third behind Skyace. She was 10l behind Gauloise that day, but if she can build on that again I give her a decent chance in the race. The one we’re all going to have to beat is Magic Daze who ran a fine race to be second at Cheltenham.
Bigbadandbeautiful runs here for the Cullentra team. I thought the last day in Navan she was quite good to win her maiden hurdle. I thought she looked fairly big in the parade ring and she might need the run, but still had the class to win. She has plenty of speed, jumps well and could be a bit of value here.