Friday sees the battle of two Champion Hurdle greats as two-time winner HURRICANE FLY faces this year’s winner Jezki in the Punchestown version on the final day of the festival.
Punchestown Champion Hurdle Tips
Willie Mullins’ 10-year-old is in search of a fifth consecutive win in this race and only Jezki has a serious chance of stopping that. It is slightly disappointing line-up of only three runners and Steps To Freedom is likely to set a decent pace for the two rivals.
Ladbrokes offer the best price of evens for Mrs John Harrington’s favourite, whilst Ruby’s legend can be backed at 11/10 with Paddy Power . The prices show just how close this race is expected to be, however Jezki will be up against it. Not only has Hurricane Fly won a record-breaking, 19 Grade 1’s, he has already beaten McCoy’s ride twice in Ireland this season.
Jezki had him well held in fourth at Cheltenham, however back in Ireland at his favourite track with forecast rain, the Fly may have what it takes to add another top class win to his tally.
Punchestown Betting Tips
We have already seen many of Mullins’ fantastic horses in action this week and VAUTOUR is another who is extremely well-fancied in the Novice Hurdle tomorrow.
The five-year-old novice is unbeaten and was majorly impressive when leading throughout in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham before bounding clear of Josses Hill, who has since won a Grade 2 at Aintree.
Walsh’s favourite is best price 2/5 with William Hill and rightly so as he looks to be an absolute banker. Lac Fontana and Lieutenant Colonel both won well last time and should battle for second, with the latter perhaps slightly more fancied.
MTADA SUPREME looks to have a good chance in the first race of the day, having beaten a number of these rivals here, before going on to win at Down Royal last time.
The Aon Novice Handicap Chase is set to be a wide open renewal and both Some Tikket and Sizing Gold are two appealing options. The first mentioned is 11lb higher now, however the step up in trip should suit and he has been running well of late.
Henry De Bromhead’s seven-year-old warrants a lot of respect for a horse on a good mark who jumps really well. At 7/1 best price, he may be worth a medium sized punt here.
Barry Geraghty has been in fantastic form throughout the festival and he has chosen to partner Utopie Des Bordes in the 16:55. That choice makes the selections more appealing straight away and he led well at Aintree until close home last time.
A previous winner of a Grade 1 in France, if Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old runs to the best of his ability, he is sure to be bang there.
ARCTIC FIRE is a strong favourite for the 2m Novice Hurdle and so he should be. Mullins’ five year-old has the stand out form of them all, having placed in a Grade 1 and finished second in the County Hurdle.
Queen Alphabet should be in perfect condition for the penultimate race and is sure to relish the conditions; therefore she just gets the vote and is currently 7/2. The final race of the festival is lined up to be another thriller, with both On The Fringe and Warne expected to run big races.
BETS OF THE DAY:
HURRICANE FLY @ 10/11
VAUTOUR @ 2/5
MTADA SUPREME @ 9/4
ARCTIC FIRE @ 4/5