SHAMROCK Sun: We head to Punchestown on Saturday to preview their card with the first recommended BETDAQ bet running in the 12.30pm.


⭕ The action at Punchestown on Saturday gets underway with an interesting Beginners Chase (12.30pm). The two to concentrate on here look to be Journey With Me and Kilcruit and the latter is just favoured. Both were rated 145 over hurdles, but Kilcruit might just have a bit more scope for improvement over fences, particularly as he’s a bit older and might just be a bit more forward at this stage of the season. He was a very good bumper horse and it’s hard to not forget his imperious win at the Dublin Racing Festival where he didn’t break a sweat to put a good field to the sword. He was beaten at odds-on in the Champion Bumper by Sir Gerhard, but he exacted his revenge at Punchestown and given how well Sir Gerhard won the Ballymore at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, it certainly wasn’t a bad run to be beaten by him anyway.

⭕ An intriguing novice chase (1.03pm) is next on the card and this can to Gordon Elliott’s Mars Harper. He was a solid enough hurdler but based on his first start over fences, he looks to be a horse that might improve dramatically over the bigger obstacles. He jumped really nicely at Down Royal, and to be beaten by Mighty Potter, who was rated 22 pounds higher than him over hurdles, was a really solid run. He should come on for that and can open his account at the second time of asking.

⭕ The 2m3f maiden hurdle (1.38pm) looks a tricky puzzle to solve, with plenty of interesting types on paper. Benaud was a good horse on the flat and could take to the jumping game well, but Absolute Nations could be quite smart, and he gets the vote. He bolted up in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival on his first appearance on a racecourse and could be one to keep an eye on this season.

⭕ Queens Brook should take all the beating in Listed Mares Hurdle (2.13pm). She did little wrong when second to Marie’s Rock in the mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham and while she was pretty disappointing her on her seasonal bow at Limerick, her record fresh isn’t anything to write home about and she should strip much fitter here.

⭕ A small but select field of six for the two-mile novice hurdle (2.48pm) and the one we like the look of is Paul Nolan’s Backintheroom. The five-year-old has only been seen once but he got the job done nicely enough in a maiden hurdle at Gowran Park. The form of that win looks pretty solid with the second, Kerosine Light, winning three times for Donald McCain since and now being rated 123. You can never be too confident in these novice hurdles, but Nolan’s gelding looks one who should improve here.

⭕ A wide-open three-mile handicap hurdle (3.23pm) is the penultimate race on the Punchestown card. Jungle Prose has won her last two and has probably got more scope for improvement off a mark of 109. However it could pay to take a chance on Birdie Blitz. The striking grey won really well at Ballinrobe when last seen in May and while she’s up seven pounds for that, there’s plenty of optimism that she could be a fair bit better than her current rating of 102. She could go really well at a likely decent price.

⭕ A nine-runner bumper (3.55pm) rounds off proceedings. We don’t need to tell you that, more often than not, these are won by either Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott, so it’s obviously advisable to look to their contenders first. Caldwell Potter was sent off favourite for the bumper one by the aforementioned Absolute Nations, so he’s clearly well-regarded and shouldn’t be written off despite disappointing in that race when finishing eighth. He will likely run much better here, but the eye is drawn to Mullins’ Jack Burke, who won a Point-to-Point when last seen and is probably a fairly smart sort. The fact he wears a hood on his first start for Mullins is a slight concern, though.


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