Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com looks at Day Four of Punchestown and the final day of the Perth Festival plus a good card at Sandown
There is an excellent flat card from Sandown with the ITV3 cameras in attendance. The opening Esher Cup sees the reappearance of Roger Charlton’s Atty Persse (2.40) who went off odds on for a maiden over today’s C&D on his sole juvenile start back in September. Three subsequent winners have come out of the race and the son of Frankel has been bought privately by Godolphin since his winning racecourse debut.
The yard are in excellent form, the selection has a good draw in stall one and he holds entries in both the Derby and the Dante. He must go well from an opening mark of 87 if he is to make up into a Pattern race performer. He is 3/1 at BetVictor and that looks a fair price for a colt who could be better than a handicapper.
In the Classic Trial Frankel sires three of the five runners including the recent Kempton winner Monarchs Glen (2.55) who made all when winning a 1m 3f handicap earlier in the month eased down. This is a step up in class and the selection has to learn to settle if he is to fulfil his potential, but that all-weather run will, hopefully, have taken the freshness out of the colt although his father was often a bit keen and it didn’t stop him that’s for sure!
The Punchestown feature is the Champion Hurdle where Supreme winner Labaik is visored for the first time having refused to race on Tuesday. As we highlighted at the time if you want to back him make sure you do so with BetVictor who will refund your losing stake if the grey loses all chance at the start.
Petit Mouchoir (5.30) finished third in the Champion Hurdle last time but I’m not convinced Cheltenham is his track and he will be hard to peg back if he gets into a good jumping rhythm for Brian Cooper. The selection is 7/2 at BetVictor and he is taken to reverse Festival running with My Tent Or Yours who also had to settle for the silver medal subsequently at Aintree.
I have never considered Death Duty a three-miler and it is no surprise to see the Gordon Elliot novice drop back in trip in a fascinating 2m 4f Grade 1 Hurdle. He looks sure to run well but Finian’s Oscar was a revelation at Aintree, having missed Cheltenham, and he can follow up in the same colours as Sizing John who did us a favour earlier in the week.
It is the last day of Perth’s spring Festival and Miss Night Owl (2.00) can follow up her recent Ludlow success for Tom George and Adrian Heskin. Connections nominated this race as the Mares’ target after her Shropshire success and she can beat the Nicky Henderson-trained War Creation.
Things were always happening too quickly for Chidswell over an extended two miles at Kelso last time and this additional half mile will suit the Nicky Richards 8-year-old who had looked a progressive sort prior to his Borders run.
The Highland National is an absolute belter with Optimistic Bias and Nakadam worthy of consideration although the vote goes to Double Whammy (4.15) who is indeed looking to follow up his win in this corresponding event 12 months ago.
At Doncaster I think Eldritch (1.40) could be well-treated on his handicap debut having overcome trouble in running to make a winning start at Haydock back in October. The colt steps up to 10f this afternoon and is not guaranteed to appreciate the trip on breeding but the Gosden yard are in excellent form and the second at Haydock is now rated 86. From an opening mark of 77 Eldritich could be well-handicapped.
They race at Huntingdon this evening and I can pass on a good word for Not Never (7.25) for Gary Moore in the 2m Handicap Hurdle. The selection is rated 95 on the level but only 102 over jumps and there is every chance that this evening’s better ground will suit.
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