PUNCHESTOWN DAY 4. AH WILLIE, GIVE US A BREAK !!
Please forgive any spelling mistakes as it is late at time of putting out this blog.
Punchestown Day 4.
I said I would give a horse in every single race at the festival but I refuse to put one up in this 3 40 as it is a confined event. Not worthy of being a part of such a big meeting and they could run this at any of their fixtures throughout thr year, tradition my arse.
A hugely competitve event to kick off with and I am narrowing it down to two , HOME FARM and my old friend WHITE STAR LINE. Brian Cooper has a chance to atone for the poor ride he gave the latter at Cheltenham. Dessie Hughes’s charge must turn around earlier season form with Home Farm who trouced him by an easy 5 lengths at Fairyhouse in late February but he has a pull of 12 pounds to help him this time round. Home Farm is very dangerous if reproducing his remarkable run in the Irish National in which he finished second as a novice which was his first run in a handicap. One trainer in particular is always telling me that such a feat is impossible, so this animal must be very smart indeed. Boyle Sports go 7/1 HOME FARM AND 8/1 WHITE STAR LINE. A half point win on each of them.
This aforementioned nameless trainer who likes to lecture me on occasion about these novices running below form when they venture into handicap company for the first time will no doubt be on the phone today when he reads this and see that I am going for NOVAROV to win this marathon. I will reason with him by saying that John O’ Shea’s ex German recruit is already battled hardened enough through racing in his native country several times successfully and then coming over to John and becoming a multiple winner here over hurdles and then being victorius on his chasing bow at Gowran. This horse is as tough as teak and if he can avoid early mistakes then his bottomless stamina can come into play on atrocious ground. I promise you this horse will stay longer than your biggest nightmare. 1 point win on NOVAROV at 10/1 with Boylesports and Stan James. As most of you know I am associated with the yard so best of luck John…
Can Willie and Hurricane Fly do it again ? Of course they can but at odds of 1/3 I will be looking to play a bit differently on the race with value being the deciding factor. I think I have a great angle into this. Let me explain. Rock On Ruby is the obvious second favourite and deserves to be but he has tried genuine soft or heavy ground on 3 occasions and lost them all , admittedly against high class opponents but the niggling doubt is there and he had a viciously hard race in the Champion itself. Thousand Stars seems to be on the wane. Rebel Fitz is outclassed as is Midnight Game and Mister Benedictine. The other runner is SO YOUNG. Give this horse soft ground, a small field and a two mile trip and his record will make you sit up and take notice. He has had these circumstances 4 times in his 13 race short career to date and he has won all four. He has 2 miles on heavy going in a small field today. Something tells me he is going to run well !! I am not saying he will beat Hurricane Fly but I do think he has a bloody good chance in the betting without the favourite market with Paddy Power so I suggest a 1 pt win on SO YOUNG at 6/1 with them. That price could be even bigger later.
Willie will win this but with which one ? I am not so sure it will be with the Cheltenham failure and odds on shot here today in the shape of Pont Alexandre. I noted at the time that he did sweat up and let the occasion get to him at the Costwolds venue and that shouldn’t be a factor here on home soil but he does not impress me physically and I wonder about his effectivness on heavy ground at Championship level. Maybe he will do it but I think his stablemate and very close relation of the superb Sir Des Champs, UN ATOUT will beat him. I raved about this superb specimen of a horse prior to him disappointing at Cheltenham but there were mitigating circumstances , the trip of 2 miles was palpably too short, the ground was not slow enough and that made his jumping too slow and cumbersome. Add those three things together and an 18 lengths beating by such luminaries as Champagne Fever, My Tent Or Yours and a little horse called Jezki doesn’t look so bad after all. The application of a first time tongue tie today is slightly disconcerting but maybe it’s only a precaution as surely they wouldn’t be running if there was an issue with breathing or otherwise. I fancy UN ATOUT out of the way for this . 2 points win at 5/2 with Boylesports and a host of UK layers.
Don’t stop now Willie as my third best bet of the week after Sir Des Champs and Upsie goes here. Only one thing will stop the potentially top class UN DE SCIEUX from streaking aay with this. The dreaded ” bounce ” factor. The greatest modern day expert on all things racing Nick Mordin first started to talk about the bounce phenomenon about three decades or more ago [ sorry Nick , are you really that old ]. Of course nowadays most of the jumped up and half intelligent private school lucky to be on television journalists like to use the words as a sort of self styled new age cutting analysis that they thought up of and inflict this shite down our throats on big days such as today . They wouldn’t know a ‘ bounce factor’ if it hit them square on in the jaw. Rant over. Where was I ? Oh yes, the bounce factor is when a horse has a very hard race and comes out pretty quickly in a relatively short space of time to run again and has not recovered from their tough ordeal. It is just a small doubt with Willie Mullins’ French import as he has had more than enough time to recover as it is 65 days since his impressive win at Fairyhouse. He did have to burst the clock that day though as he hooked up in a titanic battle all the way with Tony Mullin’s horse Sammy Black. He won by 6 lengths in the finish with a whopping 25 more back to the third who has won since. Indeed Sammy Black landed a monster punt next time as well for Tony at Fairyhouse. UN DE SCIEUX is unbeaten in three career starts [ 2 in French bumpers last year] and is a need to lead horse so he will be trying to make all. I suppose I should not be worried about the bounce. That being the case I am going nap on UN DE SCIEUX and I suggest a 3 points win at the 2/1 that Paddy P and Boylesports are offering.
As it is now 2 39 in the morning I will leave the rest of this card and the brilliant Sandown flat card till later and of course some of the other meetings.