WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and two each-way selections for the sponsored card at Fontwell Park on Wednesday 20th October
4.50 – Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle
5.20 – Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle
Date of Tips: 27/04/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (20:39 27/04/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
No joy with the two handicap bets on day one of the Punchestown Festival, but hopefully you read between the lines and backed Colreevy, under what were ideal conditions for her. I really should have recommended her as a bet, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
What Colreevy winning did do however, was to highlight the need to have a horse who is hardy enough to still be able to show top form at this stage of proceedings, or be fresh enough to benefit from a lighter campaign and show a significant level of improvement in the spring.
Day Two’s recommendations are certainly fresh, and have been kept away from all the big battles during the winter, and the festival furnaces of Cheltenham and Aintree. The first selection has also been kept away from a racecourse entirely until last month, but Panda Boy has been quickly making up for lost time.
The five-year-old can be backed at 17/2 each-way with Ladbrokes, Coral or SkyBet who all offer four places in this 12-runner Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle at 4.50 on Wednesday. Panda Boy was a 33/1 winner here over course and distance in March, and proved that there was no fluke at all about that when pitched into a tricky big-field handicap at Fairyhouse over 3m three weeks ago. He ran a cracker in seventh, only being beaten just under five lengths.
Slotting back to this trip in a race which won’t be anywhere near as competitive as the Fairyhouse affair, with the market leaders Decimation and Blue Sari far from bombproof, and Panda Boy should really be much shorter in the market.
The other bet comes a race later, in the Grade 1 Irish Miror Novice Hurdle at 5.20 – and is the Jessie Harrington-trained Crosshill, as a very appealing 16/1 each-way generally.
Only two horses in the field didn’t go to Cheltenham, and for young developing horses it can have an effect at this stage of the season. The likes of Vanillier, Galopin Des Champs, Stattler and Telmesomethinggirl will have their supporters, but at the prices I much prefer the profile that Crosshill brings into this.
Officially, Crosshill needs to find nearly a stone of improvement on the market leaders, but his run in the same race as Panda Boy at Fairyhouse was an effort that suggested there was much more to come granted similar conditions today.
Stepping up to a Grade 1 from a runner-up spot in a handicap is a gusty move from the Harrington camp, but Crosshill began the season by trouncing Vanillier here at Punchestown, and is certainly no back number at 16/1 each-way in the 5.20.