Mullins’ Magic To Continue On Friday
Friday’s Punchestown card gets off to a cracking start for punters, as they have the chance to fill their pockets with cash for the evening ahead, courtesy of the EMS Novice Handicap Chase over 2m5f (4.20).
More Success For Mullins?
The first port-of-call for many punters will be that man, Willie Mullins, who has an impressive range of entries, including the 6yo, Val De Ferbet, who took his novice chase record to 2-3 when landing a Grade 2 at Limerick in March (3m, soft). That 13l beating of Rule The World was impressive, but it remains to be seen how he will cope back in trip with a bigger field and likely stronger pace, as he has made mistakes in the past.
Also amongst the Mullins battalion is the 8yo, Tennis Cap, who took a beginners chase at Cork last month (2m4f, yielding) on just his second outing over fences.
That 13l win marked him down as decent, and having delivered in big field handicaps over hurdles, this kind of race will suit.
Tango’s Dance To Success?
It’s interesting that Venetia Williams sends over her 7yo, Tango De Juilley, who despite being beaten 43l in the JLT at Cheltenham, bounced back to win a small novice at Carlisle last month (2m4f, soft). Any rain would be in his favour.
Another who would love to see the heavens open is Stuart Crawford’s Fine Rightly, an improving 7yo who won a handicap at Ayr in January (2m4f, heavy), prior to a Grade 3 win at Naas (2m4f, soft) the following month.
Handicapped To Win?
As for those looking to make an impact from the bottom of the handicap, then John Burke’s, Aurora Bell, has to hold a chance. This 7yo has won two of his last three outings, with the pick of them last month when landing a decent handicap at Fairyhouse (2m6f, soft). Clearly improving, he is respected if making the cut.
Other raiders from Britain of interest include Tom George’s lightly raced 7yo, Wuff, who stayed on to be beaten just 2l in a handicap at Newbury in March (3m, good), while Anthony Honeyball’s 8yo, Lily Waugh, won a handicap over this trip in March, before a creditable 9l second in a Listed handicap at Cheltenham 15 days ago (2m5f, good). Both remain in fine form and could be big odds if facing the starter.
Another who shouldn’t be overlooked is Robin Dickin’s Thomas Crapper, who despite finishing runner-up in five of his last six races, has raced in good company and was only 2l behind Irish Cavalier in a similar handicap at Cheltenham.
Fiftyone To Go One Better?
However, the final word goes to Jessica Harrington, who sent out six winners at last year’s Festival here, and has Mr Fiftyone entered. This 6yo novice won over 2m2f (soft) during the winter, and showed his wellbeing when a 3l runner-up in a handicap at Fairyhouse a month ago (2m1f, soft).
This new race hasn’t many trends to guide punters, but when in doubt, stick with that man, Willie Mullins, who has an interesting runner in Tennis Cap, who enjoyed the hurly-burly of these handicaps over hurdles and will arrive in form having won his first chase 26 days ago.