After an opening day at the Punchestown Festival that could only have gone marginally better – MacNicholson advised e/w 25/1, 2nd; Felix Yonger advised 7/1 won – day two looks even trickier. There are a couple that I reckon might be worthy of a second glance, starting with…
3.40 Pack The Punch – 25/1 (1/4 1-2-3-4-5) bet365
Winner of a bumper over this two and a half mile range on fast ground on his debut, Declan McDonogh’s Teofilo gelding has yet to add to that tally in seven subsequent starts. He tackles handicap company for the first time here and, with his prominent racing style and guaranteed stamina (out of a Kahyasi mare), he looks like making a bold bid for the podium.
Indeed, in his eight career starts, he’s yet to be out of the first four, finishing 12433443. That includes in big fields and on all sorts of going. Most of his non-handicap hurdle form has worked out well, and his inexperienced jockey rode a big field handicap hurdle winner two weeks ago on his penultimate ride.
Pack The Punch is worth a pennies poke at Punchestown. Each way a pleasure.
4.20 Total Recall – 16/1 (1/4 1-2-3) bet365
The favourite, Identity Thief, will take some beating, but he won’t pay for many losers if he does oblige. Much more speculatively, Sandra Hughes’ Total Recall might reward each way support.
A course and distance winner on soft three starts back, he’s less exposed than most after just four hurdle starts. That mitigates to some degree the fact that he’s ten pounds ‘wrong’ in this level weights contest. If he tries to make all, as he has done in three of his last four starts, I’d be hopeful he can hang in there for place money at least.
4.55 No bet
Deeply competitive and with plenty – including Binge Drinker – who might be going to the bar once too often for the season. Not at all compelling as a betting medium for me.
5.30 On His Own – 16/1 (1/5 1-2-3) general
Don Cossack was awesome at Aintree, but that was over two and a half miles and on good ground. Whilst he handles softer turf well enough, there’s limited evidence that he truly stays this far. Connections want him to be a Gold Cup horse but I just can’t see him staying.
Road To Riches is the most likely beneficiary of any stamina ceiling in the Cossack, but I think On His Own has been under-rated for a very long time. Good enough to be second in a Gold Cup (when he should arguably have won it in the Stewards’ room having been carried across the course by Lord Windermere), he will stay this trip standing on his head.
Winner of six of his 19 chases, he’s also been second in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase this term as well as a reasonable fifth in the Gold Cup. Easing of the ground will be in his favour and, as long as eight remain, he’s of each way interest, to me at least.
6.05 No bet
More was expected of Supasundae at Cheltenham, but this isn’t my sort of wagering construct. Good luck if it’s yours.
6.40 Bright New Dawn – 14/1 (1/4 1-2-3-4) Hills / 888sport
Another big price in another big field. This highly competitive handicap chase has been pretty fair to the higher weighted horses, with two of the 21 carrying 11-06 or more scoring. That’s about 45% better than expectation so, while it’s an irrelevance in terms of sample size, it does at least support the idea of backing one at the top of the weights.
Bright New Dawn has run consistently this season in Grade 2 company, and this step down the class ladder looks an opportunity to further demonstrate his liking for a track on which he’s won (over this distance) and been second (in a Grade 2) from two starts.
Although Brian Cooper’s steering services haven’t necessarily pointed the way to Gigginstown’s first choice runner in recent times, he does look the pick of the pair here (Rathlin, for Mouse Morris/Ger Fox, is the other ‘Jiggy’ horse).
This lad should race close enough to the pace, and will stay fine. Worth a play at the price, each way. And if you open an accout with 888sport through the link below, you can get 42/1 (treble the odds) on this one! (Max stake £10, i.e. bet £10 to win £480 🙂 )