• Fri 21 Jul, 2017
  • 02:04 BST
  • 22:04 EST (BST-4)
  • 04:04 CEST (BST+2)

Fergie’s Punchestown double

Paul Ferguson has two selections from Punchestown for us on Thursday; Oathkeeper at 18:05 and Great Field at 18:40. Compare odds and bet.

Three from three over fences to date Great Field (6:40) doesn’t come without the odd risk, but regular readers will know that I have long been a fan of this horse and he can land this evening’s Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase.

Willie Mullins’ headstrong six-year-old has taken a chance late on in each of his three chase starts, but he clearly possesses a lot of natural ability and a pretty big engine, and a clear round should probably suffice here.

Earlier on the card, in the same JP McManus silks, Joseph O’Brien’s Oathkeeper (6:05) looks worthy of a small each-way interest in what looks an ultra-competitive 3m-handicap hurdle.

We haven’t seen the seven-year-old since October, when he finished runner-up in a Galway novice hurdle and the return to 3m looks a positive.  He clearly handles decent ground and he was only a length off Penhill when a close-up third at Galway last summer. A dual good-ground bumper winner, a truly run race might just suit and, while he hasn’t totally convinced with his hurdling style to date, 18-1 looks a fair price here (Hills).

The British challenge looks a strong one in this contest, with No Comment also representing McManus.  He could easily go close, but has run at both Cheltenham and Aintree, while Minella Awards needs to prove himself on this better ground.  Another that looks potentially over-priced is Graeme McPherson’s Skipthecuddles (33-1 Bet365) who was out-paced in the Neptune last time, but should appreciate the drop in grade and the longer trip.  A mark of 133 looks more than fair and he is another to bear in mind, in a wide-open affair.

Thursday’s selections:
6:05 Punchestown Festival: Oathkeeper
6:40 Punchestown Festival: Great Field

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