The biggest week in Irish Jumps racing gets underway this afternoon, with the Punchestown Festival taking centre stage in the National Hunt world.
The action begins at 3:40 with the Listed Mares’ Novice Hurdle and concludes at 7:45 with the Mick The Tent INH Flat Race.
With eight races on offer, the team has scoured through the card and they have picked out their three best bets for the opening day of the five-day meeting.
Here are the trio of selections for the first day of the Punchestown Festival.
NAP – PARTY CENTRAL – 3:40 Punchestown (10/3 – William Hill)
A gifted mare from Gordon Elliott’s yard, Party Central could well return to winning ways in the Listed Mares’ Novice Hurdle.
The six-year-old is 3-5 over hurdles and she has proven her ability to stay over the minimum trip as well as 2m4f.
She landed success in Listed company at the course back in December and she should bounce back from a disappointing effort at Cheltenham last month.
The mare should appreciate the return to better conditions and with Davy Russell back in the saddle, she could well strike in this company.
NB – FURY ROAD – 6:35 Punchestown (13/2 – William Hill)
While I do appreciate the talents of Bob Olinger, his price is just a tad short here for his first attempt over three miles. Hence why I’m siding with Fury Road here.
The gelding ran a cracker at Aintree last time out, finishing second to Ahoy Senor in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase and running clear of both Bravemansgame and L’Homme Presse in the process.
The eight-year-old has proven to like the better conditions as of late and while he does have 4lbs to find on the favourite, he has proven to be a stout stayer over the three-mile distance.
His price of 13/2 screams of each-way value here, especially if you can find a bookmaker that is offering three places for this contest.
LONGSHOT – ELEGANT LASS – 4.50 Punchestown (50/1 – Various)
While she is the complete outsider in this field of 18, there seems to be a sense of each-way value in Elegant Lass in the Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle.
The mare has proven to be reliable on good ground for her connections and she makes her return to action following a six-month break.
The seven-year-old has won twice when returning from a period of absence and she should be fresh for this contest.
Her pressing style should suit her on this circuit and with a 7lb claimer in the saddle, she could well break into the frame at a big price.