Horse racing tips and advice for the best bets on Day 2 of the Punchestown Festival.
The second day of the Punchestown Festival sees another three Grade 1 races on the card – with the feature race the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup.
Heading the aforementioned market is the Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up On His Own (3/1 bet365), who interestingly isn’t the pick of Ruby Walsh. He has opted instead for Melling Chase winner Boston Bob (3/1 Betfred). The latter is a quirky and unreliable sort, who may have run his race last time out, whereas On His Own ran an absolute blinder in the Gold Cup, and could have more to offer. First Lieutenant (5/1 Betfred) and Long Run (8/1 SkyBet) both haven’t shown their full potential this season. Long Run was a faller last time out when leading in the Grand National. His jumping can be quite sloppy and he seems to have passed his best, so is probably best watched here. First Lieutenant disappointed last time out when only finishing fourth behind Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl Chase at Aintree. Undoubtedly, he has the ability, but I think he is seen to best effect over shorter trips. In terms of a betting prospect, I like the look of LYREEN LEGEND (7/1 William Hill) as a good each-way punt. Despite not jumping that well and struggling to stay up the Cheltenham hill, he still managed to finish sixth in the Gold Cup. Punchestown offers a different challenge and I think that the right-handed flatter track should play to his strengths and that he has solid claims.
The first Grade 1 on the card is the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle. Out of the nine runners, Gigginstown Stud field three, including Cheltenham Festival winner Very Wood (4/1 SkyBet). Another is Thunder and Roses (33/1 William Hill) who had done little wrong this season until falling last time out less than a couple of weeks ago. He’s a progressive type, but is yet to face horses of this calibre and might well struggle. The Willie Mullins trained DON POLI (2/1 bet365) is Gigginstown’s third horse, and looks to have a great chance of victory. He is unbeaten since arriving to Ireland from France, and claimed victory in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival winning in impressive style. In a strongly run race, Don Poli flew up the hill after 2m4f, so this step up in trip should definitely suit. His main danger seems to come from the Henderson/Geraghty partnership with Beat That (2/1 SkyBet). He seemed to thrive on the flat track over 3m at Aintree, and conditions today look to suit. Despite this, Don Poli edges the vote as he has had a longer lay-off and didn't have to travel over for this contest.
The attheraces.com Champion INH Flat Race sees 13 horses line up in what looks an extremely competitive bumper. The winner, runner up, fourth and sixth in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper will face each other again, and it looks hard to split them all. Silver Concorde (9/4 bet365) stayed on best up the hill to claim victory that day. Graham Wylie and Willie Mullins have the runner-up and fourth – SHANESHILL (7/2 William Hill) and Black Hercules (3/1 William Hill), with the latter the pick of Willie’s son Patrick. Jamie Codd picks up the plum ride on Shaneshill, the horse carries my hopes for success here. He looks to need a bit of cut in the ground, which he didn’t get at Cheltenham, and with that in mind, on easier ground, he should be able to show his true class. Although this is, unsurprisingly, a competitive bumper, and one that is likely to spring a surprise, Willie Mullins has a handful of leading chances and one of his representatives should claim the victory.
4.55pm – DON POLI (WIN) (NAP) (2/1 bet365)
5.30pm – LYREEN LEGEND (EW) (7/1 William Hill)
6.05pm – SHANESHILL (WIN) (7/2 William Hill)
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