12:00 Punchestown

Both Indiana Jones and Busselton were only rated 1lb higher than the Gordon Elliott trained FRONTAL ASSAULT (best priced at 4/1) over fences but I feel the selection has more scope to improve over the larger obstacles. The six-year-old finished behind the likes of Energumene and Ferny Hollow in bumpers but improved when upped in trip over hurdles to win at Thurles in December by 4 ¾ lengths when fitted in first-time cheekpieces. 

Frontal Assault was sent off only 16/1 for the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year when he finished midfield but he had previously shown he could be a graded level performer with a victory at Navan in February in a Grade 3 Novice Hurdle over 3 miles. This trip of just shy of 2m4f will prove on the sharp side for Frontal Assault but he is a big chasing type and I feel he is type to progress well over the larger obstacles this season and can win this on his reappearance. 

Frontal Assault - 1pt @ 4/1

15:35 Punchestown

The Adrian Murray trained MY NEWBROOK RISE (best priced at 10/3) isn’t the most consistent horse but if she is in the same form as her victory 21 days ago then she should prove extremely hard to beat. The eight-year-old mare won a competitive handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier this month off a mark of 82 when she kept on strongly over 2m4f to win by a widening seven lengths. 

The handicapper has raised My Newbrook Rose 7lb for that victory up to a mark of 89 but connections have decided to book talented 5lb claimer Jack Foley to negate most of that rise. The slight step up trip to 2m5½f will suit her well and I expect her to prove hard to beat in this race.  

My Newbrook Rise - 1pt @ 10/3