3.40 – Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle
5.25 – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
Date of Tips: 28/04/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (21:25 28/04/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
A blank two days profit-wise at Punchestown, but it feels like there has been plenty of positives with regard to enjoyment, entertainment and excitement. It’s not always about the P&L…(maybe.)
Day one belonged to Willie Mullins, with an extraordinary five-timer, all ridden by different jockeys amazingly – I can’t imagine that has ever happened before. Colreevy and Chacun Pour Soi were at the pinnacle in terms of brilliance, while Echoes In Rain gave us a glimpse into the future.
Day two was sparse by Mullins’ standard, with just the short-priced treble to boast of. He will have to do better for the rest of the week! While, Clan Des Obeaux fired a blow for the British, back across the bows of the Irish battleship, that has been so gracefully dominant in the last few weeks and months.
Day three begins in the same fashion as the first two, with an almost unsolvable handicap – but I’m going to have a go. JP McManus held the key to the handicap that opened the card on Wednesday, and I’m hoping that he has a similar result in the Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle at 3.40, with Ena Baie a good each-way bet at 15/2 with Sky Bet, who are offering an amazing seven places.
Ena Baie was a regular raider across the Irish Sea when trained by Harry Fry, and already has a fourth and a third to her name in big fields handicaps at Leopardstown and Galway. But since joining Conor O’Dwyer, she looks to have improved on the evidence of her run at Cork just under four weeks ago, where she was not far behind three horses rated 145, 154 and 143. The handicapper only notched Ena Baie up 2lbs to 121 rather generously, and so she squeezes in at the top of the weights here. In addition, the booking of Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Jordan Gainford is surely a signal of intent from O’Dwyer and McManus.
The feature race on the card is the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at 5.25, and the classy Punchestown Festival-winning Saldier simply has to be supported at 22/1 each-way with William Hill, who offer a very generous five places.
Not only is Saldier the winner of the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle here in 2018, he is also a Morgiana Hurdle winner in 2019, making his Punchestown record a perfect two from two. Regularly, top class juvenile hurdlers end up being stayers, and that is exactly what Saldier has looked on his three starts this season, all of which have come in 2m Grade 1’s.
A swift glance at the previous winners of this race, and it is littered with horses who were once close to the top level over 2m, only to find a new niche at the maximum trip over hurdles. Saldier could easily be in the same category, and at 22/1 each-way with William Hill, he could just be the best bet of the whole week.