It's the opening day of the Punchestown Festival and Andy Holding has the best bets.
Having not run since landing a competitive handicap at Leopardstown back in December, COPY THAT (best price 5/1)
looks to have been saved specifically for this contest by shrewd connections and is worth a punt to land the hat trick. There was a lot to like about the way Edward Harty’s charge won that day and that was hot on the heels of a similarly impressive victory at Galway. A strong stayer who seems to thrive on a well-run affair, this big field and hustle and bustle nature of this kind of race should suit the son of Milan down to the ground.
Beaten by Copy That at Leopardstown, the subsequent form of ANCIENT SANDS (best price 16/1)
gives him some hope of turning the form around, especially as the ground will be much more to his liking. Two wins on the all-weather at Dundalk during the winter have elevated his confidence to an all-time high and he arrives here fresh off the back of another commendable effort at Tipperary last week.
COPY THAT - 0.5pt @ 5/1Lost -0.5pt
ANCIENT SANDS - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1Placed 1.5pt
JENKINS (NAP) (best price evens)
looked good and clocked a fast time to boot when scoring at Newbury on debut and providing there’s no lurkers among the home brigade, Nicky Henderson’s charge should follow up. The way the son of Azamour strode out once let down in the latter stages of that race at the Berkshire venue suggested he wouldn’t be out of place in a decent race on the Flat, and with the size and scope of a horse that should continue to improve throughout his career, he remains an exciting prospect.
JENKINS - 3pt @ 1/1Lost -3pt
Many of today’s runners have endured pretty hard seasons – none more so than Grand National hero Rule The World – so it may pay to look towards the fresher legs of HENRYVILLE (best price 9/2)
, who will also appreciate the decent surface better than most. A useful hurdler, Harry Fry’s inmate made a smooth transition to the larger obstacles when a solid runner-up to the smart Irish Cavalier at Newton Abbot(first run effectively a walk-over) and after missing most of the winter to avoid the soft ground, he came back to land a decent novices’ chase at Exeter with a bit to spare. So far, his jumping has been fairly measured for one so inexperienced, and with the likelihood of more to come now racing over a trip more in-keeping with his best form over hurdles, the son of Generous looks booked to be a big player with a clear round.
HENRYVILLE - 1pt e/w @ 9/2Lost -2pt