Irish National Punchestown 5.00
Irish Grand National Day and of the 30 runners between Sean and myself we must have looked at 27 of the runners in terms have having some sort of a chance.
Way too many to mention to be honest but let's try to section them off so that if they scoot home you'll at least have some idea of our reservations.
Lack of form or proven stamina at the trip is the big question mark for a significant tranche as always and in no particular order included in that bundle are, Sempo, Robin De carlow (also 547 days off), Off You Go, Top Moon; Atlantic Shore; Home By The Lee; Mortal; Brahma Bull, Ten Ten and indeed the hot favourite Latest Exhibition.
The Going is described as "Yielding" but there are indications it's riding quite dead and in that case it won't be rattling good ground on the basis of the past 2 days. If it is, some of those named may stay on or hunt round, but on balance we're happy to rule them out.
Having done that we would think the following come into the "not quite good enough" category today, some are probably not good enough whilst others may not have been done any favours by the handicapper.
In that category come Scoir Mear who should run well again but may be not quite up to this level, Opposites Attract who also needs to jump a bit more cleanly; Dragon Destruval who may need a bit more experience and more time with Mullins, Eurobot who is lightly raced and may just need a bit more experience, Jerrysback; the sole British raider who is owned by McManus and that may be the main reason it's here;Espanito Bello who may get the trip but is another who will need to cut out jumping errors that it can be prone to, if it does has a decent e/w chance, Coko Beach who may need deeper ground than this dead ground and The Big Dog who won well at Punchestown off 136, but who has a 10lbs rise and as far as we can see on Course debut here and that would be a negative for this horse who everyone seems to have lumped on, whether that's sheep off a cliff or good form ana;lysis, we're happy to find out.
So what are we left with?....there are 3 who don't make the final cut who we wouldn't put anyone having a bit of loose change on or who would in the order given be reserves who don't make the final cut of 5.
FITZHENRY needs no introduction, cliff horse for us all season but definitely best run so far last time and near it's best would have place chances, COURT MAID a Course and Distance winner off a mark of 140 on soft and only the 12lbs hike puts us off a repeat run, BRACE YOURSELF has been off for 127 days since that race but gets a 10lbs pull and just can't work out if its been saved for this or had a few niggles. BRACE YOURSELF @14/1 would be just favoured ahead of Court Maid @ 20/1 and Fitzhenry @ 25/1.
For an absolute MUST shrapnel bet at huge Odds we strongly suggest a few bob on SNUGSBOROUGH BENNY @ 125/1 (take Sky/Boyles) who was 4th in this race in 2019 off this very same mark on Good Going, has since run two good races at Galway and just looks like one who can bowl round, enjoy itself and have a nice place finish if it all kicks in to place.
We'll have 1/2 point on 5 though seeking a winner obviously and hoping to "pack the enhanced places" which we have famously done on a few occasions in Ireland ...The (I) or (S) denotes Sean or Ian - if you tend to stake us differently as we know some do.
MOYHENNA (I) - I really expect a bold run. Gets an 8lb pull off The Big Dog and I think a better and more proven stayer. It was hampered too in that race, is solid and consistent and probably about time to drop and land a big prize.
ESCARIA TEN (S) - If it has recovered from Cheltenham exertions where it was placed 3rd and has had 20 days off, looks the most suited by conditions and no stamina. Going or handicap mark concerns for me. Will be very disappointed if not placing at least with a clear run.
AUGUST GOLD (I) - my preferred Mullins runner, the only question is will Townend be fit enough to ride, I wonder if Rachel may take over if not?. Has an obvious chance on runner up effort at Punchestown over extended 3 and a half miles.
RUN WILD FRED (S) - A Course winner who ticks every box in terms of trip, mark, Going. Probably one of the less "sexy" ones but good at what it does and sure to make a bold effort with luck in running.
DISCORDANTLY (S + I) we both concluded this one could significantly outrun its Odds. A Course winner, signs of really running in to some Spring form and not to be under-estimated.
TRACKERS (in order of preference) - MOYHENNA ; ESCARIA TEN; AUGUSTA GOLD; RUN WILD FRED ; DISCORDANTLY (see notes re shrapnel horses)