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Horse Racing

Punchestown – Friday 31st December

Friday 31st December 12:15

WhichBookie racing analyst Andrew Blair White provides a preview and betting tips for races at Punchestown on Friday 31st December.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Ragnar Lodbrok 9/1 Each Way - 5 Places
12.15 Punchestown
Place Bet
Saint Felicien 2/1 Win
1.20 Punchestown
Place Bet
Aarons Day 12/1 Each Way - 5 Places
1.55 Punchestown
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 30/12/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (21:07 30/12/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

And so after a year of ups and downs both on and off the racetrack, tomorrow signals the end of 2021 and an entrance into 2022 – which will hopefully be a better year all round for everyone reading these pieces. We have had to watch a lot of racing from the comfort of our abodes rather than cheering in winners on course, and hopefully we can finish the year off with one final roll of the dice at Punchestown tomorrow afternoon. The high quality action in Ireland is not ceasing to stop – and there are plenty of good horses on show tomorrow and the next couple of days. 

Starting with Punchestown tomorrow and the first bet on the card comes in the 12.15 race, which is a 2m7f handicap chase. Pairc Na Ngael comes into this race as the rightful favorite, having put it together last time out at Thurles in November. However, he did not look the most straightforward and he has a nine pound rise to contend with, so it might be more prudent to give him a wide berth. Instead, I am very intrigued with handicap debutante Ragnar Lodbrok, who may well be seen to best effect in handicaps after three fairly lifeless runs in beginners chases. He was a promising novice hurdler last year, ending the season wirth a decent hurdle rating of 128, and he makes his handicap chase debut off a lowly mark of 119. Jack Kennedy is booked to ride this horse and he may well get the required improvement from the step into handicap company and the aid of blinkers on for the first time. With these factors in mind, a price of 9/1 with Bet365, who are offering 4 places, looks like a good each way bet. 

Moving onto the 1.20 race and this 2m3f conditions hurdle is the strongest race on the card and has attracted a strong field of 9 to the table. The unexposed one in this line-up is Saint Felicien, who brings any amount of potential to his second start in Ireland and could be a step above these, despite the fact he has to give his main market rival weight. Cilaos Emery is that rival, who is a solid if slightly unreliable yardstick to hang yourself to. Instead, Saint Felicien did it very well on his Irish debut for Gordon Elliot and shaped as if this step up in trip would be exactly what the doctor ordered. He has come with a good reputation and good form from France, so they will be hopeful of a very good run and to keep that unbeaten run going. With a price of 2/1 being very solid amongst all bookmakers, he looks a good alternative to the market leader. 

And the final selection for the year comes in the 1.55 race, which is an ultra competitive 2m3f handicap hurdle and sees plenty in with chances. We managed to find a slice of luck with these types of races over the festive period and wishful thinking would hope we can continue that trend. Aarons Day is the one I have landed on in this race, as he is well handicapped on his best form and has shown a tendency to go well fresh. In fact, when returning from a similar absence last season, he ran an incredible race to come second at Naas after being left alone at the start. He did not build on that effort and has subsequently dropped a few pounds in the handicap as a result. He comes on the back of a nine month absence and although the winners tally would not show it, his stable is in decent form on his return. He will hopefully be getting a waiting ride and come to challenge on the back of a decent pace. Bet365 are offering 12/1 for Aarons Day, with 5 places available, and seems a good each way selection.

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