Punchestown Double For Maher And Codd
Racing kicks off at the Punchestown Festival on Ladies Day with a race confined to horses who are owned by Kildare farmers only and despite it’s uniqueness, it’s a race that could well get punters off to a great start.
On Tuesday the first race of the Punchestown Festival was won by Enniskillen (11/4) and that horse reappears in the opener on Friday and should make it a Punchestown Festival double for Peter Maher and Jamie Codd.
The 12-year-old was only a three-time point-to-point winner in his career prior to this week but by 4pm on Friday he could be a dual Punchestown Festival winner and he looks a good price at 11/4 with BoyleSports to go one better in this race than he did 12 months ago.
Enniskillen had to settle for second behind Shin A Vee last year and that horse is going for a third win in a row in this race having won the last two without having any prep run at all.
He’s doing the same here, but now at 14, it would be an incredible feat if connections could pull it off again in a race he first won all the way back in 2009, but Enniskillen is expected to have his measure on this occasion.
Petit to sign off with a big one
Like most people I would love to see Labaik jump off with the rest of the field in the Champion Hurdle just to see what he could do in this sort of company and for what it’s worth, I would still restore the faith in him to run a massive race at this level despite still being a novice.
However, as we found out again in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle on Tuesday, getting him to jump off is a day’s work in itself.
Vroum Vroum Mag, last years winner of this race, warrants lots of respect but after being second in all three of the feature Grade Ones this week and beaten by a narrow margin in each of them, it could be a case of lightening striking a fourth time for Willie Mullins this week with Petit Mouchoir (4/1) just tipped to hold on.
The six-year-old may not quite have got the credit he deserves this term for winning two Grade Ones at Leopardstown in good style and he then went to Cheltenham to finish third in the Cheltenham Hurdle which looks a cracking run and I’d expect him to return to winning ways here before embarking on a career over fences next season. There’s still plenty to look forward to with him.
Just keep an eye on Labaik because he may well gain Gordon Elliott’s forgiveness for Tuesday’s antics if he can contribute a nice cheque towards the trainers’ title here.
De Bromhead Double
Prior to Petit Mouchoir’s Champion Hurdle challenge, Henry de Bromhead and Bryan Cooper will hopefully have already been to visit the winners enclosure with the Gigginstown owned Balko Des Flos (8/1).
A decent novice chaser this term, he was third in the Grade One at Leopardstown won by Disko. Our Duke was back in second and that form could hardly have received more of a boost by those two in the last week or so and while Balko Des Flos has to give weight away to most here, this was a race won by the classy Avant Tout last year with a lot of weight.
This six-year-old Balko Des Flos could be a similar class and be suited by this drop in grade. He looks a decent price at 8/1.
Enniskillen (11/4) – 3:40 Punchestown
Balko Des Flos (7/1) – 4:20 Punchestown
Petit Mouchoir (4/1) – 5:30 Punchestown
*Prices correct at time of publication