Chacun Pour Soi lit up day one of the Punchestown festival. The Punchestown Gold Cup is the highlight of day two. The late defection of Minella Indo has slightly taken the gloss of the race. It's still a fascinating, and well contested, heat. The supporting card looks well up to scratch.
3.40 pm Adare Manor Handicap Hurdle
Mt Leinster Gold brought an impressive strike rate from the point to point field. She's now unbeaten in two hurdles races. This drop in trip probably isn't optimal but she's a strong traveller who hurdles efficiently. Expect talented claimer Jordan Gainsford to be positive on this progressive mare. Takarengo might be getting his act together over hurdles, and should be suited by the demands of this big field test.
Selection: Mt Leinster Gold 13/2
4.15 pm Connolly's Red Mills Hurdle
Calthor put up a much improved effort when getting off the mark last time out in Ballinrobe. That improvement may have been down to racing on a quicker surface. He should enjoy the spring ground here, and probably won't need masses of improvement to prevail. Stranger Danger should relish this step up in trip.
Selection: Calthor 7/1
4.50 pm Louis Fitzgerald Handicap Hurdle
This looks a tricky puzzle. Plenty of unexposed sorts on show. Blue Sari is in danger of having a very promising career behind him. He's only a six-year-old mind you, and was running well when tipping up at the final flight in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. A repeat of that run would probably be good enough here. Decimation is a consistent and progressive horse. He looks sure to run well.
Selection: Blue Sari 9/4
5.20 pm Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle
Telmesomethinggirl was mightily impressive in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival. She takes a marked step up in trip here. She had other entries at this meeting. Connections clearly believe stamina is her strong suit. If they're correct, in receipt of the sex allowance, she would take plenty of beating. Vanillier also took his form to a higher level at the Cheltenham Festival. He's greatly feared.
Selection: Telmesomethinggirl 6/1
5.55 pm Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup
On the eve of the Punchestown Festival, @Ruby_Walsh tells the full story of his surprise retirement after winning the 2019 Gold Cup on Kemboy | Watch #PTown21 live on RTE2 and @RTEPlayer from Tuesday to Saturday pic.twitter.com/wNsbXWhBg5— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) April 26, 2021
Kemboy has a hate-hate relationship with Cheltenham. As victories at the last two runnings of this festival attest, he does have a formidable record at this track. His two performances at Leopardstown earlier this season put him firmly in the mix here. Fakir D'oudairies disappointed on his first attempt at this trip. That run was too bad to be true though, and he arrives here in fine form.
Selection: Kemboy 4/1
6.30 pm ITM Champion INH Flat Race
Rachael Blackmore got away with murder when winning the Champion Bumper in Cheltenham. It's possible Sir Gerhard may be gifted a similarly easy lead here of course. My hunch is that Derek O'Connor will have done his homework. If he ensures that Kilcruit keeps closer tabs on Sir Gerhard this time, I envisage those Cheltenham placings will be reversed.
Selection: Kilcruit 13/8
7 pm Guinness Handicap Chase
This intermediate trip could prove just the ticket for The West's Awake. Expect this strong traveller to prove comfortable with the demands of this big field handicap. He also has a good record off a break. He can go close at rewarding odds. Midnight Maestro is having a productive season. He should run well.
Selection: The West's Awake 33/1
7.35 pm Weatherbys Mares INH Flat Race
Grangee ran above expectations at the Cheltenham Festival. She should take advantage of a drop in grade here. Glan will need to find a deal of improvement. That's not impossible, mind you. Her heart certainly looks to be in the right place.
Selection: Grangee 11/10
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