Horse Racing

Punchestown Festival – Thursday 28th April

Thursday 28th April 18:00

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith has previewed Day Three of the Punchestown Festival and provided two E/W selections, including a 20/1 shot.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Maze Runner 20/120/1 E/W (6 places 1/5)
18.00 Punchestown
Place BetPlace Bet
Hurricane Georgie 5/15/1 E/W (4 places 1/5)
19.10 Punchestown
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 27/04/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (21:10 27/04/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

 

Back to the drawing board after all five selections on day two of the Punchestown Festival found themselves in disadvantageous track positions at an early stage – on decent ground, you just have to be in the first half of the field in most races at the undulating County Kildare track.

Early stages of the Day Three card look fiendishly tricky, with two unfathomable handicaps and the La Touche Cup opening up proceedings, followed by the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle, which looks at the mercy of favourite Klassical Dream, if reverting to more prominently-ridden tactics.

You won’t get rich backing him at a best priced 13/8 with Boylesports however, and while Thedevilscoachman and Ashdale Bob interested me, they would both prefer softer ground to have more pressing claims of surprising the Willie Mullins-trained hotpot.

So, to the third labyrinthine handicap of the day for the first bet of Thursday’s Punchestown Festival fare – the Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle at 6.00 – which features a few lightly raced UK raiders, in the shape of the Nicky Henderson pair of City Chief and The Bomber Liston, who could easily be players.

But after scooping the closing handicap on day two with a seemingly fairly unfancied horse, Willie Mullins can repeat the trick with the 20/1 shot Maze Runner, who can be backed at that price each-way with William Hill, Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook for 6 places.

Maze Runner is a very strong stayer and popped up at 40/1 at the Dublin Racing Festival of 2021, when he looked every inch a horse to take very seriously in this division. That he hasn’t won since is slightly surprising, but he has been competitive in decent flat staying handicaps, and hinted on his last few hurdles starts that he was coming to the boil again.

Most notably last time, in the Coral Cup, on ‘that’ Wednesday at the Cheltenham Festival – where monsoon-like conditions meant that it was survival of the fittest, or indeed survival of those who raced prominently and got into a rhythm.

Maze Runner was the only horse of the first seven home to make up any kind of ground from further back than at least mid-division, in that race. It was a run worth marking up significantly, and given the handicapper has relented a tad, and crack conditional Kieran Callaghan (ridden two winners for Mullins already) has been enlisted, it all points to a big run from Maze Runner at 20/1 each-way with William Hill.

The other bet comes in the Close Brothers Irish EBF Mares’ Handicap Chase at 7.10, and features the one horse coming into the meeting that I had hoped to see declared in a particular race, when seeing the entries.

Hurricane Georgie ran a massively eye-catching race last time when nearly chinning the high-quality mare Dolcita in a listed contest, clocking a good time in the process, and now drops back into a handicap at a track that has seen her claim a runner-up spot in a Grade 3, when splitting a pair of horses rated 141 and 142 last October.

Hurricane Georgie’s rating has been increased from 127 to 134 on account of the Dolcita encounter, but it still vastly underplays her ability I feel, and rather nicely, Gordon Elliott has enlisted Scottish National-winning jockey Rob James to take off those handicapper-donated 7lbs.

Hurricane Georgie has to be a clear favourite in my book, on ground she’ll love – so it makes sense to back her at 5/1 each-way with any number of bookmakers who are offering 4 places too, most conveniently William Hill.

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