Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Punchestown 26th April

Grangeclare West (Paul) is a course winner but was disappointing at Leopardstown last time. He will have to leave that form behind and needs every yard and more of this trip. He takes his chance here before going chasing in the new season.

We have two in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 3 miles. Embassy Gardens (Danny) has to put his Albert Bartlett run behind him but will run well on Sean and Bernardine Mulryan’s local track. Gaelic Warrior (Paul) was second to Impaire Et Passe in the Ballymore and that form should be good enough to win here. He’ll have no problem with this trip.

Galopin Des Champs (Paul) goes for the Grade 1 Gold Cup over 3 miles. He has been impressive all year and his recent homework has been good. With a clear round he’s the one to beat.

We have four runners in the Grade 1 Bumper. It’s For Me (Jody) encountered traffic problems when fifth behind A Dream To Share in the Cheltenham bumper. Hopefully, he’ll finish closer today. Rath Gaul Boy (Pat Taaffe) was beaten 4 lengths by A Dream To Share at Tipperary last year but is 20lbs better off here. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Tullyhill (Patrick) was very impressive when winning at Gowran. He didn’t travel to Cheltenham so he comes here fresh. All the recent rain will help his chance. Western Diego (Derek O’Connor) ran very free and was in front a long way out in the Cheltenham bumper. With a different ride here he could come into the reckoning.

We run three in the Grade A Handicap Chase over 2m 5f. Paul has picked Ha D’or because of all the weekend rain. He will appreciate this trip. Royal Rendezvous (Danny) won this race carrying top weight last year and has to shoulder the same weight again this time. He needs the ground to dry up to be seen at his best. Egality Mans (Sean O’Keeffe) has been very disappointing lately but has a light weight and hopefully might manage to finish in the first four.

We have five in the Mares Winners Bumper. Arctic Fly (Elliot Ohgren) was disappointing at Fairyhouse last time and has it all to prove here. Cuta Des As (Pat Taaffe) finished third at Fairyhouse and that run gives her a chance here. Fancy Girl (Charlie Mullins) was third at Naas last time and with different tactics today has a chance of a place. Fun Fun Fun (Patrick) will have to put her poor Cheltenham bumper run behind her. She didn’t like the track there but on her Irish form she is the one to beat here. Junta Marvel (Jody) won nicely over 2m 3f at Limerick last month and will have no trouble with the drop back in trip today.

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