The best week of Irish racing is well and truly under way after a fascinating Day One, and we've got some great Punchestown tips for Day Two.
The showdown between Monkfish and Envoi Allen never materialised and instead we got a masterclass from Colreevy, under Danny Mullins, with the mare running her final ever race in style.
In the big race, there was a big return to form for Chacun Pour Soi, while another Willie Mullins charge, Jazzaway, was a 10/1 winner in an absolute thriller of a race in the Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurlde.
Over the course of the week, we've got you covered with Ladbrokes' Punchestown tips for each race of the Festival. We started off with two winners yesterday and a big each way result from Whiskey Sour. Here's hoping for more of the same in Day 2, which features the jewel in the Irish National Hunt crown, the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup. Good luck!
Punchestown Tips - Day Two
3.40 - Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle
A typically competitive handicap for this meeting where you could have five or six selections and not be confident of finding the winner. Two picks against the field are The Great White and Falak. The Great White was a very impressive winner at Limerick last time and his 11lbs rise for that win has just allowed him to sneak into the bottom of the handicap. This will be a much more competitive race than Limerick but he should be capable of going close again.
At a bigger price, Falak has a slightly different profile, he has been running on the flat of late and has won his last two on the all-weather at Dundalk. This will be his first run of hurdles since leaving Gordon Elliott in 2019 but gets in here off a lower mark than his two hurdles wins. John McConnell is having a good season and could round it off nicely with a Punchestown Festival winner.
Tips: The Great White, 7/1; Falak, 16/1
4.15 - Connolly's RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final
Breakeven could be solid each way value in this big field novice hurdle. He was a winner of his maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse in February where he left a few of today's field behind, before finishing 4th in a handicap at the Easter Festival when well supported into favouritism. He will have learned plenty from that experience and this will have been the ultimate target for the season so a good run can be expected.
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 10/1
4.50 - Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle
You are unlikely to see a horse with less attractive form figures than “ppf” go off a 7/4 shot at the Punchestown Festival but that looks like it is going to be the case with Blue Sari and for that reason, he has to be opposed. It’s possible that one of Willie Mullins other runners could be better value, and Marajman is an intriguing prospect. The seven-year-old has only had two starts in his life and hasn’t been seen since making a winning debut for his trainer at Clonmel last February. He is closely related to Golden Silver who was a very smart chaser in his day, and it is hoped that Marajman can make up for lost time here.
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 12/1
5.25 - Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle
Vanillier maybe doesn’t have the connections to make him a big talking horse but his performance at Cheltenham was pretty spectacular and 3/1 seems a huge price here. He looks an out and out 3 miler and will look to stretch out the stamina of his two main rivals who both have questions marks over the trip. The ground looked to be very well watered yesterday which makes this less of a speed test than looked likely in the build up, and Gavin Cromwell’s grey can grind them into the ground here again.
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 3/1
5.55 – Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup
Clan Des Obeaux looked a revitalised character in the first time cheekpieces at Aintree and a similar performance would make him very hard to beat here.
Al Boum Photo has looked a little below his brilliant best so far this season and has found winning at Punchestown tricky in the past. Kemboy is the defending champion in this race having won under Ruby Walsh on his final ride in 2019 and should be thereabouts again but Clan Des Obeaux might just have a touch more class.
Tip: Clan Des Obeaux
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 4/1
6.30 - ITM - Supporting Irish Store Sales Champion INH Flat Race
This is the much-anticipated rematch of Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit who were so closely matched at Cheltenham, but Sir Gerhard is taken to get the better of the tussle again. The son of Jeremy benefited from a brilliant tactical ride from Rachael Blackmore on that occasion, but he did have the disadvantage of moving yard the week before the race. Now that he has had time to settle in properly, we may see a more dominant performance and it looks significant that Patrick Mullins has selected to ride him over Kilcruit.
Tip: Sir Gerhard
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 11/10
7.00 - Guinness Handicap Chase
Royal Rendezvous hasn’t been seen since finishing a close second in the Galway Plate but could gain compensation for connections here. He is still very unexposed as a chaser having just his second start in a handicap and sixth overall over fences so there is every reason to believe he could be still improving. This is calmer waters than the Galway Plate and he looks set to run a good race.
Tip: Royal Rendezvous
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 17/2
7.35 - Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race
Grangee isn’t perhaps the most straightforward of characters but she looks to comfortably have the most ability of these. She flew home at the Dublin Racing Festival to beat some better fancied rivals in a Grade 2 before running a very respectable race finishing 6th in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. A replication of that run at Punchestown would see her win this and there is reason to believe that she can improve on it in a race run at a stronger gallop.
Price on Ladbrokes.com: 10/11