Big day of action at Punchestown

Big day of action at Punchestown

There is a big day of racing in Ireland on the second day of the Punchestown Festival, with three Grade Ones taking place in the eight-race schedule.

Kicking off proceedings is the Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle (15.40) before attention turns to Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final (16.15).

The Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle (16.40) comes next before the first of three top-class races.

At 17:20, the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle takes place with 11 runners taking part in the three-mile contest.

It is hard to look beyond The Nice Guy (9/4) with the seven-year-old unbeaten in four starts.

He secured the biggest win of his fledgling career last month when winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, though will be put under pressure by Minella Cocooner (4/1) – another of Willie Mullins’ horses who finished second in that race, while Gordon Elliott landed four races on Tuesday and saddles 11/2 Minella Crooner under in-form Jack Kennedy.

Next up at 17:55 is the feature race of the day as nine horses run in the three-mile Punchestown Gold Cup, with several horses backing up from the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.

However, it is Ryanair Chase winner Allaho (11/8) who is the one to beat as Mullins hopes for a perfect day at Punchestown, though he must prove himself at this increased trip.

Also competing is Savills Chase winner Galvin (9/2), Gold Cup runner up Minella Indo (13/2), and recent Aintree victor Clan Des Obeaux (7/1), bidding to win the race for a second year running for Paul Nicholls.

King George winner Tornado Flyer (18/1) and former Gold Cup star Al Boum Photo (18/1) are among those perhaps under the radar for Punchestown glory.

The third Grade One is at 18:30 with the Race & Stay At Punchestown Champion I.N.H. Flat Race.

With three wins from three under his belt, including the Weatherbys Bumper at Cheltenham, Facile Vega (1/2) is surely the one to watch as he looks to confirm Cotswolds superiority over runner-up American Mike (3/1).

The meeting concludes with two more races – firstly the OMC Claims Handicap Chase (19.05) before the Grade Three Mares Flat Race (19.45) brings down the curtain on day two of the Punchestown Festival.

Author: Lucas Carlson