Punchestown Sunday: Faugheen Can Triumph Whether Samcro Shows Or Not4 min read
12:35 Irish Daily Mirror Handicap Hurdle
Brothers Michael and John Burke entered the record books just under a year ago when they teamed up to provide the biggest shock in Irish racing history with 200/1 shot Killahara Castle in a listed hurdle at Thurles. Jockey Michael and trainer John have another chance of upstaging the big stables on a big-race day with Like An Open Book in this handicap. Indeed, it might have been her who represented the Burke clan in that fateful Thurles contest last December but the ground was too soft for her. She should have ideal conditions here, and arrives on the back of an excellent second at Navan a week ago, which is the best recent form on offer. She’s likely to be a bigger price than her form merits here, although 200/1 may be asking a bit much!
Tip: Like An Open Book
13:05 Ryan’s Cleaning Handicap Chase
Neddyvaughan is thriving right now, and looks well up to completing a hat-trick after chase wins at Fairyhouse and Wexford. He kept on willingly when pressed at the latter venue, and although he’s been raised 9lb for that success, he still looks the likeliest winner on a closer inspection of the relevant form. Trainer Padraig Roche was, with respect, an indifferent rider when compared to his renowned father, but is turning into an above-average handler of handicappers, and he deserves credit for his handling of this gelding.
13:40 Florida Pearl Novice Chase
Nick Lost has plenty to find based on hurdles form, but he improved for the switch to a sound surface when winning a handicap off 112 at Limerick in May, and has maintained that progress since sent chasing on similar ground, winning impressively here in June, and following up over three miles at the former track in July. He was unsuited by the drop in trip when second at Killarney last time, but still ran with credit, and while he does face a pretty stiff task at this level, he may represent some value up against Blow By Blow, who carries the first colours of their owner. Blow By Blow was workmanlike on chase debut, and will do better with experience, but he will be a much better horse when getting winter ground.
Tip: Nick Lost
14:15 Morgiana Hurdle
It took Faugheen most of the season to get back to the form he showed when winning this last season after a long absence, and that can be viewed as a consequence of having him so forward at the first time of asking. He remains a potent force when on song as he showed with Grade 1 success over three miles here in the spring, and the drop back in trip allied to forcing tactics won’t faze him. He was beaten by Supasundae in the Irish Champion Hurdle, but is still the better horse on the pick of last year’s efforts, and he can prove the point here. Samcro does not deserve to be favourite on the form he has shown over hurdles, and is reported to be a doubtful runner if the going is deemed to be quick.