Despite the continued freezing conditions across the UK and Ireland, Punchestown looks set to get the green light for some much-needed jumps action on Sunday afternoon.
The home of Irish jumps racing stages their traditional Grand National Trial (4.30pm), the main dish on an eight-race offering from the Co Kildare venue (1.30pm-5.00pm).
Our tipster has selections for all the action and you can watch every race via live streaming when logged into MansionBet.
1:30 – P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase (3m1f)
Teenagers Ballyboker Bridge and Josies Orders have won this race three times between them and still make plenty appeal despite the passing of time but perhaps the latter’s’ trainer Enda Bolger will strike with Cross Country newcomer SHADY OPERATOR. The eight-year-old has had a couple of starts over regulation fences since joining from Joseph O’Brien and should be primed for this assignment.
Ballyboker Bridge’s trainer Peter Fahey could see a big effort from Blast Of Koeman should he take to this unique challenge.
Selection: Shady Operator @
2.00 – I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle (Listed, 2m½f)
Power Of Pause came through for third in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle over a similar trip last month and has to be a major player for the Willie Mullins squad here, while it’s worth paying some attention to the returning Uhtred for Joseph O’Brien in the Gigginstown silks. Preference is for THEDEVILSCOACHMAN to score for Noel Meade and Mark Walsh. He was no match for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Appreciate It at Leopardstown over Christmas but has been fairly faultless otherwise, including his Navan success on heavy ground since.
Selection: Thedevilscoachman @
2.30 – Happy Birthday Sarah Ann Madden Maiden Hurdle Division 1 (2m4f)
Lifetime Ambition sets the standard here, though Jessica Harrington’s charge passed up a similar opportunity over 2m here last month when favourite and may be plenty short in the betting this time as such. Pont Aval was a useful prospect in bumpers in 2018/19 and may do better for the champion trainer/jockey having the benefit of a run at Christmas but once-raced point winner GOLD CUP BAILLY could have a big say for Stuart Crawford and is given a chance to shine on racecourse bow.
Selection: Gold Cup Bailly @
3.00 – Happy Birthday Sarah Ann Madden Maiden Hurdle Division 2 (2m4f)
Not as competitive as the first division and, in truth, a major shock should Clonmel bumper winner JUNGLE BOOGIE fail to make it 2-2 under rules for the Mullins team. He won with plenty in hand on heavy ground last time, having made the running, and should oblige. Wild Atlantic Lady goes up in trip and has a squeak at some place money if she enjoys the increased tax on her stamina.
Selection: Jungle Boogie @
3.30 – David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Handicap Hurdle (3m)
Multifactorial couldn’t justify market support on handicap bow Gordon Elliott at Naas (2m6f, soft to heavy) in November but could have more to give, while Picture Of Home was favourite for a similar contest here last month and can do better than his fifth there if his jumping holds up. Shar Whats Therush and Lee Valley Legacy are solid contenders but maybe SMITHS GIRL is ready to make her mark. She improved when upped to 2m4f (heavy) here last month, finishing fourth, and looks the sort to relish three-miles from an unchanged mark.
Selection: Smith Girl @
4.00 – Punchestown Festival Of A Different Colour Rated Novice Chase (2m)
A good Rated Novice Chase in prospect here and one in which Joseph O’Brien plays a strong hand with both with Sempo and Duc D’Allier entitled to be in the mix. The latter is preferred. He defied an absence to score at Fairyhouse on chase bow and could have more to offer. So, too, could FARMIX for Liz Doyle. Winner at Fairyhouse (2m, heavy) in November on first outing over these obstacles, he had a thankless task since behind the likes of Grade 1 winner Energumene and Captain Guinness in a four-runner Naas contest and should find this more to his liking.
Selection: Farmix @
4.30 – Punchestown Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Grade B, 3m4f)
Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown are mob-handed here but many of the Cullentra handler’s contingent come into this out of form. It may be that Nick Lost for Henry De Bromhead and Rachel Blackmore turns out to be best-placed of those in the famous maroon colours. The Big Dog is unexposed and a contender under Jamie Codd but SCREAMING COLOURS was doing his best stuff at the finish in the Amateur National here last month under a patient ride and, over this extended journey, he could be serious players to go one place better with Conor Orr taking over now.
Selection: Screaming Colours @
5.00 – Happy Valentine’s Day (Pro/Am) Flat Race (2m½f)
Tucson Train chased home Ramillies at Leopardstown over Christmas and sets the standard of those to have run but newcomers Starman (Willie Mullins) and MYLESTOWN UPPER (Gordon Elliott) are much-feared today. The market will tell plenty but Jamie Codd’s mount cost €82,000 and has plenty going for him on paper, enough to earn him the call.
Selection: Mylestown Upper @
*All odds correct at time of writing