Though the first Classics of the Flat season are fast approaching, with Newmarket hosting the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas in a fortnight, jump racing is very much the focal point this week, with the Punchestown Festival taking centre stage.
TV Bet will have all the action of the five-day extravaganza covered with daily previews, providing visitors with an informative read and sound Punchestown betting advice. Check back every day for an expert analysis of the day ahead!
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The ‘Black Aeroplane’ takes flight again!
Sadly, British champion jockey Tony McCoy will not be in action, having sustained an injury during a fall at Cheltenham last Thursday. But that piece of bad news has been largely negated by a great piece of news: Sprinter Sacre will line-up in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase on Tuesday.
It’s very sporting of connections, as it would’ve been no surprise had they unravelled the cotton wool to roll him up in following his scintillating victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. Instead, he’s seeking a festival hat-trick.
Indeed, ‘The Black Aeroplane’ treated us all to another master-class when landing the Melling Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting earlier this month, and few would’ve predicted that the highest-rated jumps horse in training would also be present in Co. Kildare this week.
Hats off to Nicky Henderson and the owners for not mollycoddling the brilliant chaser!
Mullins on the warpath…
Hurricane Fly, who regained the Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March, will bid to win the Rabodank Champion Hurdle for the fourth consecutive year on Friday. Willie Mullins’ crack hurdler is set to renew rivalry with Rock On Ruby who followed him home at Cheltenham.
Mullins, as you would expect, is extremely well-represented throughout the week.
Champagne Fever and Back In Focus, both successful at Cheltenham last month, will be in action on the first day of the meeting, contesting the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle and the Growise Champion Novice Chase respectively.
In the latter race, Mullins may also field Boston Bob who appeared to have matters under control when falling at the last in the RSA Chase at Prestbury Park. Terminal, who was fifth in the RSA, could also line-up for Ireland’s top trainer in the Grade 1 contest.
Other big names from the Co. Carlow yard set to strut their stuff this week include Sir des Champs, an intended runner in the Punchestown Gold Cup, and the irrepressible mare Quevega in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle on Thursday, a race she has won for the past three seasons.
Counting on Conor?
While Sprinter Sacre will undoubtedly be the main attraction this week, there is also much anticipation building ahead of Our Conor’s appearance in the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle.
The gelding looked awesome when demolishing his rivals in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and was subsequently purchased by burgeoning owner Barry Connell, reportedly setting the Irishman back a seven-figure sum.
Our Conor, who was propelled to the head of next year’s Champion Hurdle betting following his pyrotechnics in the Triumph, looks every inch a star, and will be even shorter than the current top-priced 5/1 for the 2014 hurdling crown if he is similarly impressive at Punchestown this week.
Remember to revisit TV Bet daily for the lowdown on the value bets drawing upon Punchestown odds for key races and expert betting advice. Whether you’ll be at the County Kildare venue, watching the raising live on ATR or indulging in a spot of mobile betting while at work, good luck!