Mengli Can Do The Business At Punchestown

Punchestown

13:00 Total Event Rental (Kildare) Novice Chase  

Mall Dini is an intriguing runner back in novice company having caught the eye last time, but he will surely need a stiffer test, and possibly better ground to show what he can do. I’d expect him to come up short here without being knocked around, and he’s one to keep in the tracker for the spring, when a big prize will surely come his way. At this trip, the likely favourite is Invitation Only, and he won well last time having fallen on his chase debut. The problem with him is that he was beaten at short odds twice when stepped up to graded company as a hurdler, and he might just be the type to flatter. Mossback  seems a more reliable proposition, his only disappointment to date coming when pulled up on his handicap bow. He has the physique of a chaser, seems at his best when the ground is really testing and is running over the right trip. He had Snow Falcon, Bacardys and Jett behind when winning at Naas in November, jumping better than his main rivals, and despite a 33/1 SP, there was no hint of a fluke about that win. 

 13:35 Connolly’s Red Mills Amateur National (Q.R.) Handicap Chase 

A race with a rich heritage as the Conyngham Cup, and now rebranded as the Amateur National, but there aren’t many in this field who are guaranteed to relish a stamina test in conditions, including the pair who top the weights. Last year’s first and second reoppose, but neither arrive in great form, and if there is one who might be better than his mark in here then it’s Wishmoor, who showed useful form in novice hurdles and ought to do better as a chaser given his background in points. He’s not set the world alight in three starts over the big black ‘uns to date, but he’s been looked after in defeat, and promises to improve markedly for a switch to trips in excess of three miles now handicapping. John Barry rides for Mouse Morris, and the combination should go well provided they can find an early rhythm.  

14:10 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle 

Mengli Khan blotted his copybook when running out at Leopardstown over Christmas, but had looked a huge talent when winning the Royal Bond, and I don’t think we’ll see the same antics on this right-handed track. He really only has his own temperament and Getabird to beat, and he appeals as having too many gears at this trio for Paddy Mullins’ mount. Carter McKay also represents the Mullins stable, but his bumper career was a vistory of style over substance, and he appears to have a bit to prove at this level on the back of a maiden hurdle win. 

Tips: 

Mossback win  SP

Wishmoor win  SP

Mengli Khan win  SP

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Rory Delargy

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Racing writer/broadcaster

Freelance racing writer and broadcaster, and UK correspondent for The Irish Field.

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