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2019 Punchestown Festival tips - Race-by-race selections for the first day of the Punchestown Festival

Brian Healy in Tips 30 Apr 2019
A view of the runners on day one at Punchestown.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.


The first day of the Punchestown Festival gets underway on Tuesday for the first of five top class days of jumps racing action as the ‘Irish Cheltenham’ unfolds this week.

Tuesday’s racecard features three Grade One contests, spearheaded by the Boylesports Champion Chase, and the classy contest goes to post at 5.30pm on a twilight card which kicks off late-afternoon.

3:40 - Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup (5yo+) 3m1f
4:20 - Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m½f
4:55 - Killashee Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m½f
5:30 - BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m
6:05 - Goffs Land Rover Bumper (4-5yo) 2m½f
6:40 - Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m½f
7:15 - Sanctuary Synthetics INH Flat Race (4yo) 2m½f

Brian Healy assesses the day one racecard at the Punchestown Festival, and he gives his race-by-race selections on a classy first day of jumps racing action at the premier Irish venue.

3:40 - Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup (5yo+) 3m1f


BLUE TEMPLAR (11/4, William Hill) has been in decent heart in recent outings in the point to point sphere, and Enda Bolger’s charge can get off the mark back in this discipline

Third here in April 2017 behind Enniskillen - who reopposes - he slipped up over the same course four days later; he has been campaigning in hunter chases and the point-to-point sphere since, and he arrives following a god second behind Enbarr Of Mannan at Lisronagh last month.

First-time cheekpieces are now deployed on the Milan gelding, and the application of headgear could help deliver a jolt of improvement; he can go well in this contest and no surprise if he were to go close.

4:20 - Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m½f


Willie Mullins saddles four of the six runners in this race, but KLASSICAL DREAM (8/11, Ladbrokes) ought to be hard to beat on the back of his bloodless win in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

The Dream Well gelding is 3-3 this term having moved to Closutton from France, and having won well on Boxing Day at Leopardstown on his yard debut he subsequently saw off the reopposing Aramon in the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown prior to his Cheltenham success where he had the same rival trailing in his wake following an impressive win.

Felix Desjy finished fifth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but has won since and could offer up the most resistance; but the Mullins runner looks sure to improve and arrives fresher than most of his rivals, and he ought to prove a tough nut to crack here under Ruby Walsh who sides with him over the yard’s other runners.

4:55 - Killashee Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m½f


COSMOS MOON (8/1, Paddy Power) showed some fair form without winning when trained by Robbie McNamara, but the Morozov gelding has found improvement for the switch to Noel Meade and he ought to go well here.

Runner-up at Thurles in March on his yard debut following a year off, he might have found the run next time coming too soon; but he bounced back with a ready defeat of Debuchet at Limerick earlier in the month, and likely to improve again he could be worth chancing to follow up.

The six-year old ran out a near-three lengths’ winner, keeping on well with the pair drawing clear of the rest. That form might only be ordinary, and the handicapper may have reacted harshly with an 8lbs rise in the weights, but it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see him produce more for his top yard.

Still with the potential for better to come, there is every chance he can find sufficient improvement to follow up here.


5:30 - BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m


Un De Sceaux won this race twelve months ago and ought to go well again in defence of his crown; but he hasn’t looked at his best in two runs this term, while stablemate Min may not be best suited by the drop back to two miles having demolished Politologue over further last time at Aintree.

Despite obvious jumping frailties, GREAT FIELD (8/1, William Hill) could be worth chancing to put everything together and the third of the Willie Mullins’ trio in this race could spring a surprise if able to deliver a clear round.

Supporters of the Great Pretender gelding have certainly been subject to a few scares in the past when siding with the lightly raced eight-year old during the 2016/17 season where he won all four starts which included the Grade One Ryanair Novices’ Chase from Ordinary World, and he is clearly a huge talent when able to stand on his feet as evidenced when following up with a defeat of Doctor Phoenix eleven months on on his sole start last campaign in the Webster Cup.

He has come to grief on both outings this term, falling early in the Hilly Way Chase; and he was just starting to feel the pinch when again tipping up at the last at Leopardstown during the Christmas Festival behind Simply Ned although he might have needed that run which in essence was his first of the season.

He might prefer softer ground than this, and his jumping of fences leaves a lot to be desired so backers are again sure to endure a few anxious moments; but he’s not far behind Un De Sceaux on ratings, and he has claims of going close with a clear round although he may need both his stablemates to run below their best in order to collect.

Nevertheless, he could be worth a speculative punt to put it all together when it matters over a course where he has won before, and he is unbeaten at this distance when putting in a clear round. If his jumping holds up in this small field then he looks fair value to put in a bold show.


6:05 - Goffs Land Rover Bumper (4-5yo) 2m½f


SCALOR (14/1, Ladbrokes) could be worth chancing to get back on track having had excuses for his latest outing at Thurles last month where he almost unseated his rider having taken a false step and was subsequently eased off to coast home in his own time.

Liz Doyle’s Scalo gelding had previously created a decent impression when finding only Sellarbridge too strong here in February, where he was beaten six lengths; but he gave the impression he would be better for the experience, and he was still going well when suffering his unfortunate mishap latest.

The runner-up in that last outing has since won at Listed level, and having been given some time to recover from his last outing he could progress and is given another chance to build on the earlier promise he had shown on his debut outing reunited with Finny Maguire.

6:40 - Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 3m½f


DELTA WORK (6/4, William Hill) lost nothing in defeat behind Topofthegame and Santini in the RSA Chase during the Cheltenham Festival, and Gordon Elliott’s charge can get back to winning ways here.

The Network gelding had won all three previous starts which included defeats of Le Richebourg and Mortal respectively to win back-to-back Grade One contests, and he was only beaten around two lengths at Cheltenham having jumped the second last slowly and having his ground taken on the run to the last.

He kept on well without quite matching the finishing effort of the front pair, and the trio had pulled clear of the rest. The winner of that race along with the fourth have both run well again since, although both met with defeat; but he remains open to plenty of improvement over the larger obstacles, and he ought to go close again here.

7:15 - Sanctuary Synthetics INH Flat Race (4yo) 2m½f


FRONT VIEW (11/4, Paddy Power) made a good debut impression when chasing home the smart Blue Sari at Gowran Park back in January, and that run was duly franked when the winner was just denied in the Champion Bumper next time.

Joseph O’Brien’s charge had pulled clear of the rest despite proving no match for the easy winner, and he was in the process of running well when being brought down turning into the straight after a rival slipped up on the bend and took him out of the race.

The Konig Turf gelding has been given plenty of time to recover from that mishap, and with the potential still for significant improvement he ought to go well. He has looked a potentially smart prospect, and every chance he can get off the mark at the third attempt.

2019 PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL TIPS - DAY ONE SELECTIONS


3:40 - BLUE TEMPLAR (11/4, William Hill

4:20 - KLASSICAL DREAM (8/11, Ladbrokes)

4:55 - COSMOS MOON (8/1, Paddy Power)

5:30 - GREAT FIELD (8/1, William Hill)

6:05 - SCALOR (14/1, Ladbrokes)

6:40 - DELTA WORK (6/4, William Hill)

7:15 - FRONT VIEW (11/4, Paddy Power)

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2019 Punchestown Festival tips - Race-by-race selections for the first day of the Punchestown Festival

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.

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