Horse Racing Tips: Punchestown Festival Day Four
As far as Grade One races are concerned, it’s eight down, four to go at the Punchestown Festival.
Today, it’s the turn of the leading hurdlers in the land to take centre stage and, as is our wont, we’ve delved a little deeper into the form book for selections at ‘working man’s’ prices.
5:25 Paddy Power Champion Hurdle
The unbeaten Honeysuckle has already beaten most of these at least once this season and is, understandably, a short price to do so again. Henry De Bromhead’s mare extended her winning sequence over hurdles to 11 with an impressive, 6½-length victory over Sharjah in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month; she should confirm the form, not only with Sharjah, but also with Epatante and Aspire Tower, who finished further behind.
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Abracadabras was an early faller in the Champion Hurdle and has since won the Aintree Hurdle, over 2 miles 4 furlongs, beating the Champion Hurdle fifth and sixth, Not So Sleepy and Silver Streak, in the process. However, he was easily swept aside by Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February and looks a forlorn hope, at least for win purposes.
Not for the first time this season, Goshen ruined his chance by hanging badly right in the Champion Hurdle. He does not look one to trust implicitly, but on his one start going right-handed this season he easily beat the 158-rated Song For Someone, who was conceding 6lb, by 22 lengths in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February. A strict interpretation of that form gives him an outstanding chance and, while he has only raced on soft or heavy going, he did win on good going on the Flat earlier in his career.
Darver Star was sent over fences at the start of the season, but returns to hurdles after looking a less-than-natural chaser. Gavin Cromwell’s 9-year-old was only beaten half a length by Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last year and subsequently finished third, beaten 6¾ lengths, behind Epatante in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He obviously has questions to answer, but nonetheless has a ‘squeak’ at generous odds.
Selection: Goshen (12/1 with Bet365)
6:00 Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle
Willie Mullins was responsible for 70% of the five-day declarations for this race, but the pick of his remaining trio appears to be Gaillard Du Mesnil, who proved no match for Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, having been beaten in a maiden hurdle at Naas on his reappearance – by Weatherbys Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow – Bob Olinger has made giant strides this season and is chasing a Grade One hat-trick. He officially has 9lb and upwards in hand of his rivals, but is priced up accordingly and may be worth taking on. At longer odds, Ashdale Bob appeared not to stay 2 miles 6 furlongs when well beaten by Gaillard Du Mesnil at Leopardstown in February, but is 3-5 over this shorter distance and has won twice at Grade Two level.
Selection: Ashdale Bob (15/2 generally available)
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