Punchestown Festival winner Jamie Codd gives his selections for day three of the Irish meeting including an interesting contender in the concluding bumper.
3.40 – Specialist Joinery Group Handicap Hurdle
This is another really competitive 25-runner handicap hurdle to start the day off. You could nearly stick a pin in the field.
I am going to pick PIKE COUNTY for Denise Foster. Aidan Kelly is claiming 7lb off his back. He did not run too badly at Christmas in Leopardstown where he was only beaten around 15 lengths by Priory Park and I thought he got a nice pipe-opener on the Flat in Navan last month.
With the way he needs to be ridden, I think this horse can run a big race at a big price.
4.15 – Pigsback.com Handicap Chase
It’s good to see Ben Pauling coming over and taking a chance with Global Citizen who won the Grand AnnuaI, but think that MAGIC DAZE could be the one to side with if she comes back to a bit of form.
She disappointed massively in Cheltenham but her run before that behind Concertista and Jeremys Flame in Cork was quite good.
She has a nice weight off 11st 4lb and, with a reproduction of that Cork form, she would take the beating.
4.50 – Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase
I have already tipped Vital Island this week and he would not be without his chance if he runs in this race as well.
SINGING BANJO is coming back over the Banks and with Barry Walsh’s 7lb claim and the ground to suit, he is such a specialist that he is probably the one to keep the right side of. I think he can back up last year’s win.
5.25 – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
Klassical Dream will be out to try to back up his win in this race last year. Paisley Park has come over too, but I am going to go for VANILLIER.
He’s been running over fences of late and running fine. Last year he was very impressive in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham so the return to hurdles will probably suit.
Sire Du Berlais is coming back from winning at Aintree while Paisley Park and Klassical Dream ran at Cheltenham but Vanillier is a younger horse and I am going to take a chance on him.
6.00 – Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle
Nicky Henderson has two horses in this, City Chief and The Bomber Liston, and his runners must always be respected.
I am going with MAHLER ALLSTAR. This lad won well the last day in a maiden hurdle around Cork. He has enough experience as he ran in point-to-points.
If you go back through his form he was third behind Stattler last year, when I rode him, and fourth in a bumper to Appreciate It the year before. He could still be on the right side of the weights.
6.35 – Barberstown Castle Novice Chase
Gentleman De Mee was so impressive when winning in Aintree, where he beat the Arkle winner Edwardstone. It’s hard to knock that form.
But I am going to take a chance on GABYNAKO who comes in here the fresher horse. He was second in the Arkle after being supplemented. I am hoping missing Aintree can work to his advantage, so I am siding with him.
7.10 – Close Brothers Irish EBF Mares’ Handicap Chase
Hurricane Georgie has been running consistently well but has a lot of weight. Right down the bottom of the weights is a mare called CLONMOYLE.
She is a Shirocco mare who won a handicap chase around Tramore lately and I would say she will come forward for that. She wants a bit of nicer ground and might be one to keep onside.
7.45 – JP & M Doyle Celebrating 70 Years In Business (C & G) Flat Race
I am riding Music Drive who won well in Naas in February and actually ran better than it looked in the Bumper at Cheltenham. The ground was plenty soft enough for him that day.
He was only beaten 18 or 19 lengths by Facile Vega and Davy Russell was not overly hard on him.
It’s going to be hard to get away from JAMES’S GATE, who ran a hell of a race to finish third at Cheltenham but Music Drive is not without a chance.