Punchestown Day 2 Review

Punchestown Day 2 Review

The Gold Cup division is in real need of some star quality. Having been a big Boston Bob fan since his novice hurdling days it’s been frustrating to have missed his wins here and at Aintree. The great thing about him is that he finishes his races so strongly. Ruby Walsh says he’s a bit quirky when you ask him for his effort, (Ruby got unbalanced here when Boston Bob drifted after the last,) but once he got going he really stormed clear to beat First Lieutenant by 3¼l, (3m1f).

The form is nothing special and he’s obviously not been easy to train, but he has long shaped as if the Gold Cup (16/1) would suit ideally. However, he’ll be 10 next year and the only horse as old as 10 to win the Gold Cup in the last 20 years was Cool Dawn in 1998. They’ll be another double figure aged horse win it at some point, but younger, fresher legs almost always prevail and given that greats like Kauto Star and Denman couldn’t do it, you’d want to be wary of backing much lesser horses to do so.

The 3m Grade 1 novice hurdle hasn’t always attracted a strong field but it was a cracking renewal this year, boasting the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett and Sefton winners, plus the Martin Pipe winner. It was the Sefton form that prevailed with Beat That beating Martin Pipe winner Don Poli by ¾l.

Best That was having just his 4th run over hurdles here and, with his stamina proved, was given a more positive ride than at Aintree. The vibes were that he ran a little flat here and I doubt he was hard trained for this, as that’s not Nicky Henderson’s style. He’s probably a bit better than the bare result and rates a top prospect for next season. He looks every inch a chaser but so does Whisper and it wasn’t a surprise to hear Nicky say that they would probably keep one of them for the staying hurdle division.

It’s not easy working out how they’re likely to be split. The markets have Beat That at 14/1 for the World Hurdle and Whisper 16/1 with only Whisper quoted for the RSA, (12/1). That lack of an RSA quote for Beat That doesn’t mean much and whilst they both have high profile owners, neither looks to have an obvious other contender for either division. Beat That’s owner Michael Buckley does have Tolworth winner Royal Boy who stays much further than 2m, and if he makes a recovery from the injury that forced him to miss the spring festivals, he might be one for staying hurdles.

Given Beat That and Whisper’s relative levels of experience, it might be that Beat That is the more logical one for another season over hurdles - in which case 14/1 would look huge if More Of That and Annie Power go chasing. The World Hurdle market looks one to focus on at the start of next season when plans for those horses are announced.

Don Poli might have been slightly flattered by his proximity to Beat That but, like so many Gigginstown horses, he looks a chasing type and, seemingly flexible as to ground conditions, he looks a leading candidate for staying novices chases in Ireland next season. He’s 12/1 for the RSA but with his owners having so many potential horses for that race, (Rule The World and Lieutenant Colonel amongst them,) he’s not a betting proposition at this stage.

Lots Of Memories had looked a promising novice during the dry autumn but rather lost his way over the winter, especially when the ground became testing. He bounced back at Fairyhouse to win a valuable novice handicap off 129 and again showed his liking for a sound surface upped in class here. He got into all sorts of trouble on the home turn and in the straight, but closed to within 2½l at the line. He may be ground dependent but appeals as a likely type for the 4 miler next season, (no market yet).

Albert Bartlett winner Very Wood was disappointing. It might be it was a weak Albert Bartlett this year or it might be this was a race too far for a horse that’s been on the go since October. This was his 2nd run in cheekpieces and it may be some more extensive headgear will be needed when he goes chasing next season. He’s 20/1 for the RSA and it’ll be interesting to see how he trains on next term.

Le Vent D’Antan was one of the hyped novice hurdle prospects in the autumn, after a fair 7th to Briar Hill in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper last season when sent off joint favourite. He was much too keen there and I’d had him down as one to follow this season, but he was held up in the autumn, didn’t make the racecourse until January and had been disappointing with just a March maiden hurdle win from 4 starts.

However, Liz Doyle made it clear that he was going to be much fitter here and he trounced a decent looking field in a winners of one hurdle (2m4f.) He’s very much a chaser in the making and if they get a clear run with him next season, he could take high rank in the novice chasing division. He’s not yet quoted for the RSA but it would be no surprise if he ended up in that race – given his interrupted campaign over hurdles he’s the type to be underestimated by punters with short memories.

Given that there are so many bumpers at this festival, it’s easy to forget that one of them is a Grade 1, (2m). It attracted a really strong field with the 1st, 2nd and 4th from the Cheltenham version lining up and Silver Concorde was heavily backed into even money to follow up. Everything looked in his favour but he was readily outpointed in the end by Cheltenham runner-up Shaneshill.

It’s worth remembering that Shaneshill was himself heavily backed into 7/2 favouritism at Cheltenham and Willie Mullins wondered if he was too easy on him in the run up to that race. On this slightly easier ground he turned the tables comfortably and he looks a top prospect for novice hurdles. His breeding suggests he ought to stay well and he’s shown plenty of speed so he looks the right favourite for the Supreme at this stage, although 8/1 clearly isn’t a betting proposition for a horse that may easily contest the Neptune.

It was great to hear Dermot Weld say before the race that Silver Concorde had schooled brilliantly over hurdles. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he can do as a novice hurdler though he might not want winter ground. He looks to have lots of speed and 16/1 for the Supreme is fair.

The other one to take out of the race is Value At Risk who’d met trouble in running at Cheltenham, (finished 12th), but showed his true colours here to be beaten only 2¼l, and given that his rider couldn’t claim his 5lb here he arguably comes out the best horse. He’s a chasing type but ought to be competitive in good novice hurdles first – he’s 20/1 for the Supreme, but may want further.

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Cheltenham Countdown

Welcome to our exclusive betting blog focusing on the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

For the third year running, we welcomed National Hunt expert Matt Tombs to blog all things Cheltenham through the winter. The highlight was Jezki's Champion Hurdle win, which was a vindication of a long-term plot and went some way to ensuring another Festival in profit. Click through to view the archive of 2012 and 2013.


2014 Results:


Western Boy - Supreme Novices - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Zamdy Man - Supreme Novices - 1pt 33/1 - N/R

Ted Veale - Arkle - 1pt e/w 25/1 NRNB - U/P

Felix Yonger - Arkle - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Jezki - Champion Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Cockney Sparrow - Mares Hurdle - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Foxrock - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Gullinbursti - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 33/1 NRNB - N/R


Rathvinden - Neptune Novices - 1pt e/w 16/1 - 3rd

Corrin Wood - RSA Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Ifandbutwhynot - Coral Cup - 1pt 28/1 - U/P

Arvika Ligeonniere - Champion Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Balthazar King - Cross Country - 1pt 33/1 - WON

Modus - Champion Bumper - 1pt 10/1 - U/P


Mozoltov - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Champagne Fever - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 7/1 - N/R

Benefficient - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Baily Green - Ryanair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Salubrious - World Hurdle - 1pt e/w 25/1 - U/P


Captain Cutter - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - County Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - 2nd

The Giant Bolster - Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - 3rd

Dynaste - Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 NRNB - N/R

Certain Flight - Foxhunter Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P


Gigginstown - Top Owner - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Good Ground - Official Going - 1pt 10/1 - LOST


Advised Bets:

Sizing Gold - Aon Novice Handicap Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

On The Fringe - Champion Hunters Chase - 1pt 7/4 - WON

At Fishers Cross - World Series Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - 3rd

Balder Succes - Ryanair Novice Chase - 1pt 11/4 - 3rd

Art Of Logistics - Three.ie Handicap Chase - 1pt 12/1 - 2nd

Lyreen Legend - Punchestown Gold Cup - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Shanahan's Turn - Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 33/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Boylesports.com Champion Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Western Boy - Champion Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 10/1 - U/P

Mullaghanoe River - Irish National - 1pt 18/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Powers Gold Cup - 1pt 11/2 - U/P

Quito De La Roque - Grand National - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Salubrious - Liverpool Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Ted Veale - Maghull Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Saint Are - Aintree Handicap Chase - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Melling Chase - 1pt 7/1 - 3rd

King Of The Picts - Top Novices Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 - 3rd

Themanfrom Minella - Sefton Novices Hurdle - 1pt 50/1 - U/P

Giorgio Quercus - Topham Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Dynaste - Betfred Bowl - 1pt 15/8 - 2nd

Turn Over Sivola - Red Rum Chase - 1pt 8/1 - 2nd

Uxizandre - Manifesto Novices Chase - 1pt 9/2 - WON

Mossey Joe - Aintree Fox Hunters - 1pt 13/8 - 3rd

Baby Shine - Reynoldstown Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Kingwell Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Bog Warrior - Red Mills Chase - 1pt 9/4 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Vautour - Deloitte Novice - 1pt 2/1 - WON

Tammys Hill - Hunters Chase - 1pt e/w 5/1 - WON

Vendor - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Boston Bob - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

The Giant Bolster - Argento Chase - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Unioniste - Sky Bet Chase - 1pt 9/2 - 3rd

Hidden Cyclone - Clarence House Chase - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

Captain Chris - WH Chase - 1pt 2/1 - WON

The Liquidator - Tolworth Hurdle - 1pt 5/2 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Lexus Chase - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Hey Big Spender - Welsh National - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Shantou Magic - Challow Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Morning Assembly - Topaz Novice Chase - 1pt 9/4 - 2nd

Cue Card - King George - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

My Tent Or Yours - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 5/4 - WON

Defy Logic - Racing Post Novice Chase - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Salubrious - Long Walk Hurdle - 1pt 9/1 - 2nd

Totalize - The Ladbroke - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Ma Filleule - December Gold Cup - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Prince De Beauchene - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Fighting Fifth - 1pt e/w 10/1 - 3rd @ 9/1

Sizing Rio - Drinmore - 1pt 5/2 - U/P @ 3/1

Jezki - Hatton's Grace - 1pt Evens - WON

Roi Du Mee - Betfair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 8/1 - U/P

Gift Of Dgab - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Cash And Go - Greatwood Hurdle - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Cotton Mill - Elite Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Cue Card - Haldon Gold Cup - 2pts 11/8 - U/P

Benefficient - Charlie Hall Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Sizing Europe - JNwine Champion Chase - 1pt 3/1 - 2nd