Horse Racing

Punchestown Festival – Tuesday 26th April

Tuesday 26th April 15:40

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith previews Day One of the Punchestown Festival, and has three selections in two races.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Party Central 5/25/2 Win
15.40 Punchestown
Place BetPlace Bet
Glan 6/16/1 E/W (5 places 1/5)
16.50 Punchestown
Place BetPlace Bet
Gua Du Large 14/114/1 E/W (6 places 1/5)
16.50 Punchestown
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 26/04/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:11 26/04/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

 

The Punchestown Festival is for the purists, and is the final outpost of the departing jumps season. It is also, seemingly, for Willie Mullins. A ridiculous 19 winners over the 5 days in 2021, could easily be under threat this time around, as he runs everything from his Grade 1 stars through to the stable cat. He’d probably even enter himself and son Patrick if there was a ‘trainers and sons only three-legged, egg-and-spoon race!’

Mullins will surely win two of the Grade 1’s today as Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo dust up in the 2m Grade 1 Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle at 4.15. At the prices, I would be leaning towards Dysart Dynamo making all, but Sir Gerhard is a mighty beast, so may be able to reel his stablemate in.

While in the William Hill Champion Chase at 5.25, hopefully we get a clearcut answer as to who is better – Energumene or Chacun Pour Soi. Paul Townend prefers Energumene, Willie Mullins has always had a soft spot for Chacun, while I just don’t know and will be watching with interest rather than betting.

The other Grade 1 on the day is the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at 6.35, and it features Bob O’Linger stepping up to 3m for the first time, and in a first-time tongue tie, just over a month after tearing a muscle at Cheltenham.

The opportunist in me feels I should be taking him on, but of the opposition, Capodanno would have preferred softer ground, Fury Road has been kept very busy, Beacon Edge doesn’t quite stay 3m, I have an inkling that Millers Bank might be better left-handed, and Lifetime Ambition and Ballyshannon Rose aren’t quite good enough. So again, no bet I’m afraid.

The first and standout bet on the card for me comes in the opening race – Howden Insurance Brokers Mares’ Novice Hurdle at 3.40. It is the Gordon Elliott-trained Party Central, who is a top-priced 5/2 with William Hill.

It is a race that doesn’t have a huge amount of depth, and Party Central’s main market rivals, the Willie Mullins duo of Grangee and Dinoblue, have both been to the Cheltenham Festival and then the Grade 3 at Fairyhouse’s Irish Grand National meeting. Surely, they will be feeling effects of both races in their legs.

Whereas, Party Central has been kept fresh for this, and after winning a handicap comprehensively at the Dublin Racing Festival, she travelled like the best horse for much of the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham before perhaps not getting up the hill.

Punchestown over a trip just in excess of 2m on spring ground will be just the ticket for Party Central, and I feel she should be clear favourite. So, at 5/2 second in with William Hill, she is a bet.

The ground will be a factor in the Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle at 4.50 too, and I like two each-way bets with plenty of extra places to go at with various bookmakers.

The first is Glan, who is available at 6/1 each-way with BetVictor and Coral, for 5 places. I can’t understand why she isn’t clear favourite after her mightily impressive win at Fairyhouse 10 days ago in a similar race.

Glan is another Eliott-trained mare who has been kept fresh for the spring, and she can reward that patience by winning again, on ground she will love.

She may be vulnerable only to an old rival, in the shape of her conqueror Fairyhouse November conqueror Gua Du Large. Again, that day, it was decent ground and the pair scooted clear in a fashion that suggested when conditions were similar, that they would be forces to be reckoned with.

Gua Du Large had a spin in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where a midfield finish (similar to plenty that re-oppose today) doesn’t tell the whole story. He made a big move from the rear as they ran down the hill, and as a result his effort petered out up the hill.

At a track that will suit, and Gua Du Large actually ran an eye-catching race in a novice hurdle here at last year’s Punchestown Festival, he represents great value at 14/1 each-way with Sky Bet for a lovely 6 places.

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