|Thursday 27th April 2023
Punchestown Festival Horse Racing Picks (Day 3)
Sire Du Berlais, winner of the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham and Aintree, will attempt an unprecedented treble in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at 5.25 p.m. on Thursday, the midway point of the Punchestown Festival, which features a full bill of Grade 1 action.
On Thursday, there will be eight more races from the Co Kildare circuit, including the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase at 6:35. Our racing expert has picks for all of the action at Punchestown.
Day 3 Predictions in Punchestown
3.40: 2m - Specialist Group Handicap Hurdle
Aslukwoodhavit, making his handicap debut for Henry De Bromhead, is well-liked, but he must overcome top weight in this opener, and BY YOUR SIDE, one of two in here for Gordon Elliott, may be a better bet.
He won last month at Naas and finished third in an event for amateur riders at Cheltenham just eight days ago, so he should be able to take advantage of a lower mark of 6 pounds now that he is back in his native Ireland.
4.15: 2m - Pigsback.com Handicap Chase
While Dinoblue rode lucky at Fairyhouse this month, Coeur Sublime has a much superior record here. It should be able to bounce back from an underwhelming performance in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham.
THE FOLKES TIARA, a stablemate of Coeur Sublime and Rachael Blackmore's mount, is a good option for players who want to bet both ways. At Leopardstown over the holidays, he finished second to Final Orders, who went on to win the following race despite carrying 9 pounds more weight. He then ran fifth off a mark of 150 in the Grand Annual.
4.50: 4m 2ft - Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country
The four-and-a-quarter mile course in Punchestown is one of the attractions of the meeting for many spectators.
Stealthy Tom and Midnight Maestro, trained by Enda Bolger, are dangerous opponents. Still, MORTAL has shown promise in cross-country events at Cheltenham this season, so his recent loss in the Ulster National should be overlooked.
5.25: Grade 1, 3m - Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
If Sire Du Berlais, at age 11, were to win the Cheltenham, Aintree, and Punchestown Grade 1 treble, it would be an incredible feat of bravery. However, he is now in top form and should not be disregarded.
TEAHUPOO may get revenge for his loss in the Cotswolds six weeks ago, but Willie Mullins' Klassical Dream and Monkfish are also in the mix. Davy Russell's afternoon didn't go so well, but with Jordan Gainford on board, the six-year-old prospect can make things right with Sire Du Berlais.
6.00: Grade B, 2m 7½f - Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle
WALKING ON AIR may have been ridden too conservatively in last month's Pertemps Final in the Cotswolds, where the horse ultimately finished fifth. The Nicky Henderson–trained raider is entering off a 2lb lower mark and must have high expectations of bringing the £30,000 prize back to Seven Barrows.
6.35: Grade 1, 2m - Barberstown Castle (For Novice)
El Fabirolo is yet to be defeated in three attempts over jumps, and he has already won the Irish Arkle and the Cheltenham version of the race this spring. His three victories have come by a total of 3412 lengths. It seems pointless to argue with him this week, with Willie Mullins and Paul Townend sweeping up awards left and right.
7.10: 2m 5f - Close Brothers Irish EBF Mares Handicap
Queen Jane has only had a few races under her belt, but she has shown rapid improvement after switching to chasing. She has gone up 11 pounds after her Limerick victory but has legitimate claims against Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead.
WESTERN ZARA, trained by Paul Nolan, finished second in this race a year ago and is now rated 1 pound lower after running substantially further in three of her four subsequent starts. She finished sixth in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival before, so she should be ready to give it another go.
7.45: 2m - JP & M Doyle (C&G) Flat Race
Many knowledgeable people believe that BALLYBURN, the superb course-and-distance winner for Willie Mullins in February, maybe the best of this year's bumper bunch, which includes Slade Steel for Henry De Bromhead and Better Day Ahead for Gordon Elliott. Patrick Mullins's friend should lead the way home if he is.
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