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Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Punchestown 29th April

We will have five runners in the Novice Handicap Chase over 2m 5f. Blue Sari (Mark Walsh) has a lot of weight and will need to be at the top of his game if he is to win this. Fighter Allen (Paul) is having his first run in a handicap. He has been working well and hopefully this ground will be a big help to him. El Barra (Jack Foley) is also having his first handicap outing and will have the benefit of his rider’s 5lb claim. He ran well enough at Cheltenham considering he had run four days earlier at Limerick. If he has recovered sufficiently he could play a part here. Fan De Blues (Daryl Jacob) promises a lot at home but doesn’t deliver on the track. Hopefully, he can finish in the first four or five today. Grand Bornand (Sean O’Keeffe) is also a handicap debutant. He has been disappointing since winning at Galway last year and probably needs real summer ground to be seen at his best.

We have two runners in the 2m 5f Mares Chase. Elimay (Mark Walsh) won the mares’ chase at Cheltenham and if she can reproduce that form here it would look like a good opportunity to add to her winning tally. Dolcita (Paul) will be suited by these fences and the trip. She is running for some black type so hopefully she will finish in the first three.

Our two runners in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle over 2 miles look to face an impossible task against Honeysuckle. If Saint Roi (Mark Walsh) can improve a little he has every chance of finishing runner-up. Echoes In Rain (Paul) is a course and distance winner and will be suited by the ground. It would be excellent if she could finish in the first three.

We will have three of the six runners in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m 3f. State Man (Paul) won very well over 2 miles at Cheltenham and the extra half a mile here should be okay for him. He looks to hold a strong chance. Kilcruit (Patrick) likes this track and will handle the ground. He won’t be far away at the business end. Deploy The Getaway (Sean O’Keeffe) hasn’t got the rating to win. Hopefully he will run well before going novice chasing next month.

Billaway (Patrick) goes for the 3 mile Champion Hunters Chase. He comes here after a last gasp victory at Cheltenham where he didn’t jump to best effect. This ground will be a huge help to him. We skipped Aintree with him this time so he will be a fresher horse than he was when beaten here last year. Hopefully, that will give him the edge to collect.

We have four in the 2 mile novice hurdle. El Fabiolo (Paul) looks the pick of ours after running a great race at Aintree but he had a hugely hard race there. He appears okay at home and should go close here. Bring On The Night (Bryan Cooper) ran a great race in the Supreme and could be El Fabiolo’s biggest danger. Ha D’or (Danny) had a very hard race at Fairyhouse just three weeks ago. If he is over that he should be in the shake-up today. Micro Manage (Sean O’Keeffe) won at Thurles last time but has been a little disappointing over hurdles. A first four finish would be our best hope for him here.

We have two and the first reserve in the bumper over 2m 2f. Patrick has chosen Don Chalant who was very unlucky not to win at Navan last time. The extra two furlongs here will suit him. While the form of O’moore Park (Jody) mightn’t be good enough he will be better when he goes jumping in the future. The first reserve, newcomer Follow The Brave, is more a country bumper type and would be up against it here if he gets in.

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