Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Punchestown 28th April

Brian Hayes won on Gelee Blanche at Tramore last time and he takes the ride again on her in the 2m 4f novice hurdle. Hopefully this is isn’t coming too quick for her but she likes good ground and deserves to have a crack at this big prize.

We have three in the 2m 4f conditions hurdle. Blue Sari (Mark Walsh) looks best of ours. He was running a cracker at Cheltenham when he fell at the last in the Coral Cup. He has a great chance on the ground and over this trip. Fighter Allen (Bryan Cooper) has been a little disappointing over the winter and is really more of a chaser than a hurdler. This trip is fine for him and hopefully the better ground will bring about some improvement. Marajman (Danny) has been off the track since winning a maiden at Clonmel over a year ago so he might find this difficult.

We have two in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 3 miles. Stattler (Danny) will like this trip and has a good each-way chance. Galopin Des Champs (Paul) was very good in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and that form gives him a top class chance here. He’s in good order.

We run four in the Punchestown Gold Cup over 3 miles. Al Boum Photo (Paul) must have a great chance with the defection of Minella Indo. We think he has every chance of running above his Cheltenham form where he didn’t sparkle in the last mile. The likely pace here will really suit. There were not many opportunities this week for Easy Game (Brian Hayes) so he takes his chance here. He will like the ground and might pick up some nice prize money. Kemboy (Danny) sets the standard here having won the last running of this this race. He came out of Cheltenham very well and will love this ground. Melon (Patrick) didn’t fire at Cheltenham and it is difficult to see him winning today.

We are three-handed in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper. Patrick takes the ride on Sir Gerhard who beat Kilcruit (Derek O’Connor) by just half a length in the Cheltenham Bumper. It could be a very close call between the two again today. Sir Gerhard came back from Cheltenham in good form and he sets the standard. Ramillies (Barry O’Neill) finished behind the other two in Cheltenham and it is hard to see him reversing the form. A share of the prize money is the best we can hope for him.

We will have five runners in the 2m 4f handicap chase. Royal Rendezvous (Sean O’Keeffe) has a bit of class but is returning after a long lay-off. He is in great form at home and will like the track and ground but this is a big ask. Annamix (Danny) is having his first run in a handicap chase. He will improve a lot on this nice ground and could surprise us. Livelovelaugh (Brian Hayes) was in great form when winning at Aintree a few weeks ago and has every chance here provided it’s not coming too quickly for him. Pont Aven (Adam Short) has been disappointing and it’s difficult to make a case for him here. Blazer (Sam Torrens) is a course winner and has been showing enough for us to persist with him. He will like the ground and trip and has good each-way possibilities off a lovely weight.

Patrick rides Grangee in the Grade 2 Mares Winners Bumper. She finished sixth in the Cheltenham Bumper and that form gives her a real chance here. She is in good form and will love this ground.

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