The Punchestown Festival gets underway on Tuesday and punters will be able to see some of the finest horses from the National Hunt Season in action for a final time this term.
The Boylesports.com Champion Chase Day is lined up to be a thriller, with three Grade 1 events which include the wide open renewal of the Champion Chase itself.
Punchestown Champion Chase Tips
Somersby is the current market leader with most leading firms offering odds of 9/2. The champion jockey, A P McCoy is on board and the only concern is the two times that the 10-year-old has unseated recently.
Hidden Cyclone and Module are next in the betting and can both be backed at 5/1 with Boylesports. The former finished second to Dynaste at Cheltenham, whilst the latter finished six lengths behind the class act Sire De Grugy in the Queen Mother at the festival.
If Somersby cannot win this, I believe the value lies with BALLYNAGOUR, who at 9/1 with a number of leading firms represents a really tasty price. David Pipe’s eight-year-old won the Byrne Group Plate in some style at Cheltenham, before finishing third to an impressive Boston Bob at Aintree.
He was leading going over the last and eventually finished four and a half lengths behind in third in the Betfred Bowl which is top form. The shorter trip here is likely to suit and at that price, an each way bet is worth a punt.
Willie Mullins’ FAUGHEEN was one of the most impressive winners throughout the Cheltenham Festival when he bounded clear of Ballyalton to score by four and half lengths. He drops back to 2m for the first time here which is a slight disturbance, however if he can keep jumping errors to a minimum, then his incredible engine is sure to give him a fantastic chance.
Ladbrokes are offering 8/11 on the favourite which is still reasonably good odds for ‘the machine’, however I am incline to thinking they may shorten as the race approaches. The two that I believe will be competing for second are Sgt Reckless and The Liquidator who are 7/1 and 20/1 respectively.
The third and final Grade 1 is the Growise Champion Novice Chase which Morning Assembly currently leads the betting for. Pat Fahy’s market leader is currently 5/2 with Ladbrokes, whilst Djakadam, who get 9lb from others, is next in the betting at 11/4.
With Ruby Walsh aboard and following a fine win over Bright New Dawn at Leopardstown, the second favourite looks in good shape to take this, especially as he was going well when falling at Cheltenham last time.
Ballycasey finished fourth behind Morning Assembly in the RSA and can play a big part, whilst Carlingford Lough is another who cannot be completely ruled out.
The first race of the day looks to be a tricky contest and it is last year’s runner-up, Lord Hawkfield who looks to have been primed to go one better this time round.
No horse under the price of 10/1 has won the bragbet.com Handicap Hurdle in the last ten years; therefore the bigger priced options are well worth serious consideration once again. The Game Changer, Glen Beg and Stocktons Wing are just three who can play a serious role.
The other two races are both wide open and will surely cause some problems for punters, however they do offer some serious value and could be the money makers.
BETS OF THE DAY:
FAUGHEEN @ 8/11 NAP
BALLYNAGOUR @ 9/1 E/W NB