Andy Holding has four tips for today's racing including a NAP at Punchestown.
GUBBASS (best price 11/8) did more than enough to suggest he’s trained on from two to three in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on his seasonal debut and with the numbers from the race at the Berkshire track pointing towards it being a top-class affair in every sense, Richard Hannon’s colt can really begin to kick-start his campaign.
A useful juvenile just shy of Group 1 class, the son of Mehmas returned to action with the view to see whether he stays beyond six furlongs and having been ridden accordingly by Ryan Moore, the overriding impression was that he got the trip well. Indeed, when you take into account where he was at halfway and his last three furlongs of 33.7 was not only better than the winner, Perfect Power (34.2) but by some way the best on the card, his performance provides connections with plenty of options going forward. Whether something like the Commonwealth Cup is a consideration for connections further down the line only time will tell, but for now, he is worth persevering with over seven furlongs and today’s four opponents look well within his range based on his effort 13 days ago.
RAASEL (best price 4/1) shaped as though he would benefit from the run on his first start for 164-days at Musselburgh recently and having already proven his suitability to today’s track last season, a return to the Sussex venue with that all-important run under his belt can see Mick Appleby’s sprinter back in the winners’ enclosure.
A proper cash cow for the ultra-shrewd Horse Watchers group last season, working his way through the ranks from a mark of 73 to a ceiling of 94 after his fifth straight win at Nottingham, the son of Showcasing began his campaign in a hot Class 2 affair at the Scottish venue with a good deal of promise. Posted out in the unfavourable middle part of the track, the five-year-old kept on nicely without being overly punished to finish a creditable fifth and with the strong possibility that he will take a huge step forward following that initial outing, his morning odds make him a very enticing each-way proposition at the prices.
EL BARRA (best price 10/1) has cut his teeth against some pretty smart operators since having his attentions switched to fences and off what appears to be a pretty attractive mark on his first start in handicap company, Willie Mullins’ gelding has enough class to make an impact over the longest trip he has attempted under rules (was runner-up to Fury Road in a point).
A creditable runner-up on his chase debut at Fairyhouse despite proving no match for stablemate Blue Lord, the son of Racinger then had the misfortune to bump into both Saint Sam and Thedevilscoachman on his return to the Co Meath venue a month later. Back in action 63 days later, the eight-year-old made light work of a slightly less taxing set of opponents at Limerick in March before being slightly surprisingly asked to go and tackle the likes of Bob Olinger at Galopin Des Champs in the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Never in the hunt that day, the combination of going left-handed and bleeding from the nose wouldn’t have helped his cause though either, but with his form figures reading 111231 when he does race in a clockwise direction, he makes a little more sense as a betting proposition on much more suitable ground.
STATE MAN (NAP) (best price 11/8) ran out a very convincing winner of the ultra-competitive County Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival last time out and with the distinct possibility that Willie Mullins’ will improve even further for a step up in trip, he makes plenty of appeal in his bid to keep the Grade 1 success rolling for the master of Closutton.
Smooth winner of modest maiden hurdle at Limerick in February, the five-year-old chestnut was all the rage to take advantage of an opening mark of 141 in one of the most competitive handicaps run all season and at no stage did he ever give his legion of supporters a moment’s worry. Very strong in the latter stages of what turned out to be a well-run affair, the son of Doctor Dino was simply way too good for a field of established handicappers and with connections having no hesitation in coming here instead of the two-miler on Day Two, the hint should be taken.