Punchestown 15:40: Enniskillen 11/4 – 2pts
Enniskillen won the opening race of the Festival with Jamie Codd on board on Tuesday and he’s back for more in opening race today. Tuesday’s victory was over 3 miles and although this is a shorter trip, the conditions should hopefully suit Peter Maher’s 12yo as he bids to reverse placings with the winner of the last three runnings of this race Sin A Vee.
Punchestown 16:20: Woodland Opera 9/2 – 1pt
Jessica Harrington’s 7yo looks likely to go off favourite for what looks a very competitive handicap. The trainer jockey combination have been on-fire lately and Woodland Opera has a serious chance of landing winner number five of the Festival for Harrington. Making his handicap debut today, the gelding has made really good progress since switched to chasing and this step up should suit following a comfortable win at Fairyhouse last time out.
Punchestown 17:30: Labaik 12/1 – 2pts
There’s no doubt backing Gordon Elliott’s talented but precocious 6yo comes with risks attached as he showed on Tuesday when refusing to take part in a race he had every chance of winning (he did eventually start but only after surrendering a huge head-start to his rivals). There’s obviously the danger of that happening again today but if Davey Russell can get him to jump off with the rest, he merits a fair amount of respect on his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle success at Cheltenham in March.
The NIpper could run a big race at big odds for connections. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Punchestown 18:05: Finians Oscar 15/8 – 2pts The Nipper 40/1 – 0.5pts each-way
Favourite Finians Oscar will obviously take all the beating but it could also be worth siding with outsider The Nipper. The Warren Greatrex-trained mare is another talented but quirky type, as she displayed at the course last year when running out under Nina Carberry. Despite her tendencies, she’s still won six of her eights starts and if applying herself today could outrun her lengthy odds. As for multiple Grand One winner Finian’s Oscar, he missed Cheltenham with a slight injury but showed no ill-effect when winning with plenty in hand at Aintree this month and should extend his unbeaten record for trainer Colin Tizzard with another success today.
Punchestown 18:40: On The Fringe 5/2 – 2pts
Edna Bolger’s brilliant 12yo has won this race four times and there will be plenty of support for the old favourite to make it five this year. A disappointing fourth at Cheltenham, a slight error early on appeared to unsettle him before he was eventually pulled-up at Aintree earlier this month, the first time he’s failed to finish a race since 2012. If able to bounce back from those two below-par efforts and given his outstanding record in this race, it’s worth keeping the faith with 12-time winner.