Duc Des Genievres attempts to follow his Arkle triumph at Cheltenham by winning the Ryanair Novices Chase on Thursday’s Punchestown card. A strong renewal of that race is the Day 3 highlight of the Irish festival and is among four races analysed below.
Whenever has there been a cross county chase in recent times without the presence of veteran Irish horse Josie’s Orders who is set to carry top weight in this 4m2f affair. He is expected to run another creditable race but Jarob has been running well in decent company including two defeats this season by Josie’s Orders. With a stone difference in weights on this occasion, Jarob could prevail.
Selection: Jarob to Win (10/3 with Coral).
There will be no Paisley Park in this three-miles event after his winning performance in the equivalent race at Cheltenham, but fourth placed Bapaume is set to mount a challenge in this contest. The Willie Mullins gelding is a consistent animal but just appears to lack the required finishing pace near to the end of races.
There was much to like about Aux Ptits Soins when he won a Grade 3 handicap hurdle over three miles at Aintree when carrying second top weight. Yet as with many of these contenders, he is still to win a Grade 1 event and it may also be worth noting Vision Des Flos from the Colin Tizzard who disappointed in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham. He has never raced over this distance but has performed well in good quality races, and won a 2m3f graded hurdle back in February at Fontwell. In an open race, he could be a threat.
Selection: Vision Des Flos to Win (15/2 with Ladbrokes)
For this two-miles novice chase event, Willie Mullins will be aiming to repeat his Cheltenham Arkle victory with Duc Des Genievres. The 6-year-old gelding was a convincing winner at the Prestbury Park festival after beating Tower Bridge by fifteen lengths in his prep race. Paul Townend will again be aboard the Arkle winner with Ruby Walsh riding stable mate Chacun Pour Soi.
In his only race for the Mullins yard, Chacun Pour Soi won by more than thirty lengths at Naas during March and while the 7-year-old is difficult to assess, he could be a very good horse.
Among the other entrants, Us And Them will attempt to reverse placings with Duc Des Genievres from the Arkle form but is acquiring a sequence of second placings in his form figures. Defi Du Seuil returns to the minimum trip after campaigning for much of the season over 2m4f, and may just lack the necessary pace for this distance. Aintree winner Ornua is also a likely starter but he could only beat Us And Them by less than two lengths unlike the thirteen lengths margin by which Duc Des Genievres won at Cheltenham.
Selection: Duc Des Genievres to Win (2/1 with William Hill)
There is no real outstanding candidate for this 2m contest and two mares from the Willie Mullins yard are expected to dispute favouritism. However, Harry Fry sends over Deadringerforlove who was not particularly effective racing in bumpers but has won her only start over hurdles when scoring comfortably at Chepstow last time. She could upset the Irish contingent.
Selection: Deadringerforlove each-way (16/1 with Ladbrokes)