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Punchestown

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Burning Victory
Racecard

There’s no doubt that Cheltenham runner-up Concertista is the one they all have to beat in this mares’ event, but with nine going to post, the contest has a nice shape for a Win and Place bet. Burning Victory may have been a fortuitous winner of the Triumph with Goshen’s final flight fumble, but don’t discount the form in behind. She gave a beating to Aspire Tower, Allmankind and Navajo Pass who have all won Grade 1 or 2s since that day, finishing off her race particularly well. Willie Mullins has shown he can bring one back after a long absence to score already this week, so the year-plus break needn’t be a worry. With just two runs over hurdles to her name, she has untold scope for improvement.


Quilixios
Racecard

The first three home in the Triumph Hurdle clash with the first two in the Boodles in what is a cracking 4yo contest. There seems to be little reason why Quilixios shouldn’t have too much for his Cheltenham rivals again. He travelled supremely well into the Festival Grade 1 and quickened clear to score in smooth fashion. That was a career best on Racing Post Ratings, so there is possibly more to come from Henry De Bromhead’s charge. Of the rest, it might be Haut En Couleurs who gives the selection most to think about, rather than Zanahiyr. Willie Mullins’ charge was only making his second career start (and first for his current trainer) at Cheltenham, so probably has the most scope for improvement.


Sam Brown
Racecard

UK-trained horses have represented just 7% of the runners in this race in the past decade but have been responsible for three of the 10 winners, and two runners-up, a very healthy return. Anthony Honeyball has already landed one race across the Irish Sea this week and might bag the double with Sam Brown. Hugely exciting in the early parts of last season, he was pulled up in the Reynoldstown and not seen again until a very pleasing 3l third, giving weight behind the 161-rated Imperial Aura at Carlisle in November. This return to 3m looks likely to be more suitable here, and off a mark of 148 he could be well treated. There’s not a lot of competition for the lead so he might just get his own way out in front.


On Eagles Wings
Racecard

This is a red-hot handicap hurdle, but we’ve come down on one that looks sure to appreciate this drop in trip. Tim Hyde’s gelding did all his best work late when just getting up to take the Grade 3 Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle over 1m7½f two starts back. That performance warranted a step up in trip on handicap debut, but the 3m at Fairyhouse just seemed out of reach as he faded in the final furlong to finish fifth, beaten less than 4l by Lady Breffni. He’s 6lb better off with that one here and should go well off an unchanged mark. Just 1¼l in front of him that day was Capodanno who has come out and hacked up off the same rating this week, so this rating of 137 looks well within his reach.


About Punchestown Racecourse

The climax of the Irish national hunt season sees all eyes turn to Punchestown. The five day Punchestown Festival plays host to 12 Grade 1 contests in what is the closest thing Ireland has to the Cheltenham Festival. Outside of the main event, the course is host to the Morgiana Hurdle, won three times by Irish hurdling legend Hurricane Fly.

The fences are fairly easy in comparison to some courses, while the steady climb up the home straight isn’t overly steep. Inside of the traditional course is Punchestown’s Banks course, which hosts a number of cross country contests throughout the season.


Punchestown RacecourseCounty KildareIreland
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