Paul Ferguson has two selections for us today from Punchestown; Caolaneoin in the 1.50 at and Scotsirish in the 3.55; Compare odds.
With Musselburgh the latest casualty to the weather, we’re once again left with just one jumps card in Britain or Ireland, with today’s action coming from Punchestown where there are a couple of interesting Cheltenham trials taking place.
The race of the day is the Grade 2 Tied Cottage Chase where the past two winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Big Zeb and Sizing Europe, go head-to-head. The ground maybe a little more to the liking of Big Zeb, but this looks a watching brief ahead with the big race at Cheltenham in mind.
Scotsirish (3:55) is currently favourite for the Cross Country contest at Cheltenham and he should be tough to beat in his prep this afternoon, in the Glenfarclas P. P. Hogan Memorial Chase.
He won here over the banks course in the Risk Of Thunder Chase back in November and was subsequently heavily backed to score at Cheltenham the following month.
The 11-year-old was still travelling well when seven of the runners took the wrong course and it was left to Garde Champetre to come home in front. He is once again the main danger, but he doesn’t quite look the force of old and it will be disappointing if the younger horse can’t get back to winning ways.
The selection was trading at 4/6 with Paddy Power this morning, which seems tight enough, and it is hoped that the sentimental money comes for Garde Champetre, meaning Scotsirish will ease out a little.
Willie Mullins really ought to be chasing a short-price double by the time that race comes around with Allure Of Illusion looking to have a fine opportunity in the opening maiden hurdle.
A smart bumper performer, he ran into Joxer on his hurdles debut recently, and the Supreme Novices’ entry should have too much class for these rivals, despite the fact that he steps up in trip.
He will go off pretty short so is another to watch with the future in mind, but an impressive win will point many towards a bold showing from Joxer in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.
He warrants plenty of respect, as does impressive Cork winner Simenon, and the 140-rated Trifolium, who has looked a much better horse since the application of cheek pieces and he was latterly seen giving the smart So Young a race at Navan.
But, at the prices, it is worth taking a chance on the unexposed Caolaneoin (1:50) who did us a good turn when scoring at Fairyhouse a fortnight ago.
The son of King’s Theatre gave the ill-fated Lovethehigherlaw a race in a Fairyhouse bumper on his racecourse debut last January before going one better at Leopardstown.
The six-year-old got off the mark at the second time of asking over hurdles and, after travelling really well throughout, he still looked pretty green when left in front so there should be plenty more to come.
This stronger race should suit, especially if he gets an end-to-end gallop, and at 6/1 this morning he looks worth taking a chance on.
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- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)