Good evening from the Major who again writes from the comfort of a warm bed. The radio is gently spilling out the peaceful and assuring tones of Radio Four.
Today, we finally had a result. Rye Martini advised last night at 20/1 returned an 11/1 winner in the opener. I won’t brag but god it felt good. Should you be new to these parts, I issue a fair warning. This is not the normal service. Very welcome 20/1 winners come infrequently – Even the blind squirrel finds the odd nut.
Still, that winner has given me a few darts to throw at Fridays card so….
Punchestown Friday Tips
No prices are up for the opener but I will take a cautious bet on Shin a Vee. A previous winner and placed effort in this race suggest he will be tuned up but he is incredibly the only horse in the line up to win on either soft or heavy. Derek O’Connor was the final persuader as this fine amateur rider is extremely valuable in a race of this nature. Forecast SP 7/1.
The handicap race in this second is a damn puzzle. The Real Article is of some interest, while he has not been the same chaser as hurdler (where he started on an absurdly low mark), the distances he has been run at suggest that there might be a big run in him and he is competing off almost twenty pounds lower.
I am interested in three, Terminal, Competitive Edge and Immediate Response. Terminal ran respectably in the RSA and may be able to carry this sort of weight around. On jockey booking, Immediate Response has a better chance and with Mullins winning FIVE races at Punchestown yesterday, both of these are going to be backed. This sends me down the route of a value pick in 16/1 Competitive Edge. He looked very much on the upgrade until last time in the Irish National where he clearly did not stay.
The 4.55 is as much of a puzzle but I am going for Panther Claw at 7/1 who ran really well in the Irish National and may have been coming with a run if not for a bad jumping error.
Hurricane Fly looks rock solid for the Irish Champion Hurdle and will raise a mighty cheer taking this race once again – I am sure some of the chaps are still dinig out on him regaining his title in March.
In contrast, next on stage in the novice hurdle is Pont Alexandre who left a lot of Irish money in the satchels when failing to shine at Cheltenham. Clearly plenty remain faithful and he is already a 4/6 shot. The excuse there was the ground and this surface is expected to be much preferred.
I am willing to have a pop at the Mullins second string here though at 9/4, Un Atout makes some appeal. His own festival finished honourably with a 4th in the Supreme but that was marred by trouble at the obstacles. This track will be a little easier in that regard especially with far fewer runners.
Un De Sceaux is my NAP of the day – Mullins is having such an amazing week and this horse can continue his winning spree. Clearly talented and targeted at Punchestown… what’s not to like… 2/1 – Load the Cannons.
Bluemountainbeach is closely related to Blackstairmountain who has had just won half a million on a far flung adventure to Japan! Katie Walsh is not a common rider for Willie and does not have the finest record (1 winner from 9 rides n last 2 years). County Champion gets my vote instead after a dominant Cork victory last time.
Oscar Delta was subject to one of the most amazing finishes of the festival as he tried to jink out on another circuit throwing his jockey when the race was at his mercy. Salsify picked up the pieces that day after being raced fashionably off the pace. I can’t see why Oscar Delta cannot gain revenge and I hope so, for Miss Mangan at least.
Courage, roll those dice.