The end is in sight. After four days of top class fare, the curtain will come down on the Punchestown festival today and they have left the trickiest card until last.
Hopefully my wits have been sharpened over the week. It's an eight race card. I won't be previewing the charity race though. Instead, in keeping with the spirit, I will throw some money in a bucket.
2.35pm: Dooley Insurance Cross Country S´chase
Josies Orders produced a laboured effort in the La Touche. It's hard to support him with confidence 48 hours later. Ballycasey ran a reasonable race in the cross country at Cheltenham. I'm still concerned that he may have fallen out of love with the game. Blue Templar put in a very clean round over the banks on Tuesday. He can double up here. Hurricane Darwin shouldn't be far away.
Selection: Blue Templar 4/1
3.10pm: BoyleSports Handicap Steeplechase
An extreme stamina test. Se Mo Laoch shapes like he will relish the task. He just seems to keep on at the one pace. He was a touch disappointing at Fairyhouse, but is usually most reliable, and can get his season back on track here. C'est Jersey looks another with scope at the trip.
Selection: Se Mo Laoch 16/1
3.50pm: Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle
Benie Des Dieux looked set to collect at Cheltenham. That's strong form. Eventual winner Rocksana, ran a sledger at Aintree. If Benie can avoid mishap, she should retain her crown. Hard to get away from Stormy Island for the forecast. She's kept good company all season, and was runner up in the Mares at Cheltenham.
Selection: Benie Des Dieux 1/4
4.25pm: AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle
Fusil Raffles couldn't have been more impressive on his UK debut. The problem is that he looked good in what is turning out to be quite a weak renewal of the Adonis. Fakir D'oudairies, on the other hand, has kept strong company on his last two starts. A repeat of his Cheltenham or Aintree efforts would set a good standard here. The sharper track in Punchestown may not be ideal. Way Back Home should ensure a decent test though.
Selection: Fakir D'oudairies 11/4
5pm: Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Steeplechase
Acting Lass has been absent for over a year. He had looked a highly progressive staying chaser. He is the class of this field. Trainer Harry Fry seems a particularly circumspect trainer. He wouldn't have sanctioned an away mission if the horse wasn't fit and well. Acting Lass also has a good record fresh. The handicapper looks to have given him a sporting chance. At the opposite end of the weights is Young Paddymc. He's a progressive sort, and can chase the selection home.
Selection: Acting Lass 5/1
5.35pm: Ballymore Handicap Hurdle
A daunting race for punters. I tipped Golden Spear earlier in the week. He didn't run. Connections may feel this trip is more suitable. I'm not sure about that, though he does need a test on the flat. He still appeals as well handicapped, and the huge field will help. Lac Kivu surprised connections, and the betting public, when getting the better of Whisky Sour last time. That form looks strong, and the handicapper is guessing a bit with his mark. It wouldn't come as a surprise were he to prove well ahead of it.
Selection: Golden Spear 16/1
6.10 pm: K Club Hotel & Resort
Tactical Move was turned over at odds on in his only point to point start. That didn't stop current connections from buying him. They may be on to something too. The winner of that point has since won two bumpers in England. He gets a tentative pick here.
Selection: Tactical Move 9/4