A really beneficiant mark
The closing day of the Punchestown Festival options two Grade 1 contests, although it is truthful to say neither of them makes big enchantment as a betting contest.
So, in reverse formation, as they are saying on the railways, let’s look first at the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at 16:30 by which Popong appears on a doubtlessly very beneficiant mark. She’s at the head of the market, not surprisingly, however 13/2 still looks a generous enough price.
Popong has had simply the 5 runs over fences. On her first three begins she ran to only a pretty helpful degree, profitable the center of these three begins, towards her personal intercourse at Listowel. But it’s her subsequent two runs that make her look ahead of her mark. At Punchestown in November, Popong completed second to Colreevy, giving that rival weight. The kind has been franked repeatedly, which makes her mark of 130 look a beneficiant one.
Next outing, making her handicap bow over fences, Popong was despatched off at simply 7/2 for a competitive-looking affair at the Leopardstown Christmas assembly. Having moved easily into competition earlier than the second-last, she was shaken up turning for residence, maintaining on in a detailed fourth when she fell at the final, the winner behind her at the time. That kind is fairly sturdy too, although the handicapper has left her on the identical mark.
Popong, who will probably be ridden by Rachael Blackmore, hasn’t raced over an prolonged three miles earlier than – her final run was at simply 17 furlongs – however there’s sufficient encouragement in her pedigree and the approach she races to assume she’s going to keep
Kidder might disrupt Triumph rematch
The Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at 16:00 is fascinating, that includes a rematch between the first three from the Triumph Hurdle.
Quilixios got here out on high at Cheltenham and may properly achieve this once more. However, there are grounds for considering Zanahiyr, who was somewhat flat and never in the kind he’d proven beforehand, and Haut En Coulours, who was having simply his second begin over hurdles and first for Willie Mullins, might flip the tables.
Also in the discipline are the first two from the Fred Winter, Jeff Kidder and Saint Sam. On phrases a stone higher, Saint Sam most likely ought to reverse placings, however Jeff Kidder has proven additional enchancment since, profitable a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse, and he’s clearly thriving at the second.
With the three runners from the Triumph intently matched in the betting and taking out a big chunk of the market, the angle may properly be to again Jeff Kidder every approach, regardless that although he wants to progress once more.
Burning Victory the worth in battle of Mullins’ mares
The Mares Champion Hurdle at 15:20 is predictably dominated by Willie Mullins. He fields the first three in the betting in Concertista (pictured), Stormy Ireland and Burning Victory.
Concertista has the greatest kind and was barely unlucky not to win the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, whereas Stormy Ireland appeared her previous self when profitable at Fairyhouse final time and will have the run of the race.
But it is Burning Victory who catches the eye. While hasn’t been seen since her lucky victory in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle, such an absence hasn’t been an issue for the yard this week; Klassical Dream off even longer earlier than profitable the Champion Stayers Hurdle.
Burning Victory appeared extra of a stayer than may need been anticipated from her pedigree in the Triumph and he or she is probably going to be efficient over an additional half a mile.
At the costs, Burning Victory is worth chancing at 9/2 to spring a minor shock.