Punchestown Day Three Preview

Star of the Sceaux

Star of the Sceaux

After a great first day, it was a four race washout on day two of the Punchestown Festival for the geegeez picks. Of course, when tipping at 16/1+, that’s more likely than not to happen and we did isolate a bit of value in the market, with all four selections returning shorter than the advised prices.

That’s the way to long term profit, even if it means a few barren days en route.

To Thursday, Day Three at Punchestown, and it’s another ferociously deep card. I’ve picked out a few at prices again, so the same value principles apply. If you want the most likely winners, then this is not really the place to be looking for advice; but if sustainable value is your game, welcome friend. 😉

3.40 Pepparpot – 14/1 (1/4 1-2-3-4-5) bet365, PP

Mags Mullins does well with a smallish string, and this lad is having his first start in a handicap hurdle today. La Mullins has won with one of her three handicap debutants in the past year, which could be significant.

Pepparpot has not run over hurdles since 5th August 2013, and had a complete break after that date until showing up on the all weather at Dundalk in December last year. Four spins on the sand there yielded a win and a second, and the horse was good enough to run second over seven furlongs a month ago. Whether he’s good enough to win here we don’t know, but 14/1 is enough to warrant finding out.

[This horse appeared on the Geegeez Gold Handicap 1st Run report today]

4.15 Pires – 20/1 (1/4 1-2-3-4) general

Another impossible handicap, a chase this time, on what looks a pretty good placepot day. Pires is nearly as old as the footballer after which he is named and, on his day, almost as talented.

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According to Instant Expert (another Geegeez Gold feature), Pires has been placed on 15 of the 26 occasions he’s run at two miles. He’s also been placed three out of four times on today’s projected yielding going; and on his only start at Punchestown. His record in chases on better than soft ground is 11101922, and that’s enough for me to have a nibble.

Clearly, there are plenty of unexposed and plot types, but Pires sets an established level of form and conditional comfort than few can match. He could run a nice race for us.
4.50 Ballyboker Bridge – 16/1 (1/4 1-2-3) bet365

This is an odd one. The price makes me think it’s too good to be true, and it might well turn out that way. Specifically, 16/1 about the PP Hogan winner (a race over this banks course, and the pre-eminent trial for the Cheltenham Cross Country), in a race full of swerves and old men, is way too big.

As I say, there might be a reason for that. But trainer Peter Maher placed Big Shu to win this race in 2013 and, since he sadly lost that one, this lad could bid to be the heir apparent.

Four miles is an unknown, but we know he goes on the course (was a 20/1 shock when winning the PP Hogan), we know his trainer understands what is required to score in the La Touche Cup, and I suspect the oppo is not all that.

5.30 No bet

Jezki looks the most likely winner to me in a fascinating race. Hurricane Fly has only run once beyond seventeen furlongs in Britain or Ireland, and that was back in 2010. He might stay and he might win, but stamina is a huge unknown.

Jezki also has to prove stamina but has at least been running over two and a half miles more recently. Indeed, he was a Grade 1 winner at that trip last time. He has the best combination of class and stamina in the field, I suspect, but with the likes of Dedigout, Lieutenant Colonel, and even Jetson and Thousand Stars in the field, I’m not playing at 7/2.

Watching brief for me.

6.05 Black Benny – 33/1 (1/4 1-2-3-4)

It might be that quickish ground and a trip is what Black Benny needs nowadays. He last encountered that combo three runs back, when winning a 2m6f handicap chase at Galway in October last year.

A lightly raced type, he’s been in the frame in two of his three Punchy runs and gets on fine in big fields. He will need luck in running with a frequent midfield/hold up style, and his price tells you all you need to know about the degree of speculation in this wager.

But he’s below his last winning mark, and could conceivably run through beaten horses to make the frame.

6.40 No bet

I’m looking forward to watching Un De Sceaux, but from a sporting perspective only.

7.15 No bet
7.45 No bet

Good luck with whatever you’re backing.

Matt

p.s. If you’re a Gold subscriber, I’ve flagged a couple of other interesting horses on the FORUM here.

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