Well last weekend was nothing short of an absolute disaster. My two fancies, Make Time and Sir Roderic, both ran absolute stinkers and I think it was just one of those days. The fact that Rod Millman went on to saddle a 100/1 winner later that afternoon on the Newbury card was the final insult, and I was not a happy bunny on Saturday night. At least Light That and God’s Own ran half decent races yesterday, and hopefully we can continue in the same vein today. Below are my thoughts on Day 2 of the Punchestown Festival.
|Drumconnor Lad could run well for Adrian Keatley.
I have already put Going For Broke up in this race for Mybettingbonus and you can read why I like his chances here
. With 25 horses going to post it probably makes sense not to put all our eggs in one basket, and at odds of 18/1 perhaps Magic Of Light can continue the excellent form of the Jessica Harrington yard.This lightly raced daughter of Flemensfirth has won just one race so far, a bumper at Navan, and that victory came on the best ground she has encountered thus far (yld/soft).
She ran well at Limerick last time to be second behind Pahaska on handicap debut off 105 on soft and she is only 2lb higher here. Her half siblings Pingshou, Mughas and Sizing Platinum have all won on good, and we think Light That could be set for a big run on the good to yielding ground at Punchestown. At odds of 18/1 she is worth having a saver on e/w.
STEVOS’S SELECTIONS: GOING FOR BROKE E/W 25/1 MAGIC OF LIGHT E/W 18/1
Battleford will be a popular choice in this hurdle race, but at bigger odds I think Adrian Keatley’s 7yo Drumconnor Lad could run a big race. I was down in Fairyhouse to see him win last week and he looked a picture in the parade ring before the race. He had been running well without winning on bad ground all winter, but he looked a different horse on the lovely ground at Fairyhouse.
The son of Winged Love was always in a handy position under Davy Russell and there were few travelling better as they turned for home. Tamlough Bay looked as though he would be hard to pass after they jumped the last, but Russell always seemed confident he would get there and he won a shade cosily at the end. He is kept to the same trip here, he will love the ground and if that race hasn’t left its mark he should reward e/w support at odds of 12/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: DRUMCONNOR LAD E/W @ 12/1 NAP
Willie Mullins had a 1-2 in the Champion Novice Hurdle yesterday, but they didn’t finish in the order that the market suggested they would. That could be a recurring theme throughout the week, and Al Boum Photo could be the one to upset impressive festival winner Penhill in this contest. Penhill beat Monalee comfortably at the festival, and I can see no reason why that form should be turned around.
However, Al Boum Photo made a big impression with the manner of his maiden hurdle win at Thurles back in January, and he proved that was no fluke by showing a lovely turn of foot to land a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last time for Paul Townend. He keeps the ride this time, and it will be interesting to see if he can handle the step up to Grade 1 company. I think he could be very dangerous if handling this better ground, and at odds of 9/1 he is the each way selection.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: AL BOUM PHOTO E/W @ 9/1 NB
Only six go to post for the feature race on the card and Sizing John is a warm order to follow up his magnificent Gold Cup success. He renews rivalries with Outlander and Djakadam, and if all three run to their best Sizing John will win. Coneygree is a potential fly in the ointment, but he would be of more interest if the heavens open. With only 6 runners this is not a race I will be getting involved in, and it is one to just sit back and enjoy. No bet.
Fayonagh was a horse that I didn’t give a hope to at Cheltenham as I didn’t think she would go on the ground. She proved me wrong in spectacular fashion, winning easily despite a lot going wrong on the day. If she is in the same mood today she will be very hard to beat, but mares can be funny sometimes and at her current odds she could be worth taking on. The Gary Moore trained Dell Oro won as he liked on debut in a Fontwell bumper (13.5f) last month, and it is interesting that his trainer thinks it worth having a go in this race.
He was fulsome in his praise of this 4yo son of Walk In The Park after that win, and though the form has yet to be tested he was visually very impressive. He was outpaced as they turned for home but once the penny dropped he stayed on strongly under hands and heels for a near 4L win. Only 7 go to post so keep stakes small, but at 33s he could be worth chancing each way in what looks a very competitive race.
STEVOS SELECTION: DELL ORO E/W @ 33/1
Usually I relish trying to work out these handicaps, but this race is an absolute minefield. A strong case could be made for literally all of them, but the one I like at decent odds is Peoples Park right down the bottom for Tom Taaffe and Rachel Blackmore, who claims a handy 3lb. This 8yo son of Presenting hasn’t run well on his last three starts, but he was very impressive when winning at Fairyhouse before Xmas (17f yld) off 122.
He was hiked up to a mark of 131 after that win, and he found 3 miles too far next time at Leopardstown off his revised mark. The soft ground at Fairyhouse was no good to him next time, and heavy ground scuppered his chances when pulled up last time at Naas. As a result of those three efforts he has been dropped back down to a mark of 127, so with Blackmore’s claim he is a mere 2lb higher than the mark off which he won by 6L at Fairyhouse. He was beaten a nose on his only previous visit to Punchestown, and at odds of 14/1 he is the each way selection.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: PEOPLES PARK E/W @ 14/1
I have no strong fancy for this race but one horse that could improve for the better ground is Shane Nolan’s beautifully bred daughter of Presenting, Simone. This mare ran her best two races when getting half decent ground at Leopardstown on her first two starts, but she was well beaten on soft her next two runs.
She gets good ground again today, and her pedigree suggests that should suit her perfectly. She is a half sister to top class operator Simonsig, and her full brother Drumcliff is no mug either. Both those horses won good ground bumpers, as did her least illustrious half sibling Simarthur. She has a lot to find with Minutestomidnight on her run at Wexford last time out, but she could close the gap on this better ground and at odds of 40/1 she is a tentative e/w selection.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: SIMONE E/W @ 40/1