DAVY RUSSELL: Punchestown Saturday

It’s the last day of the Punchestown Festival and that means it’s also my final blog of the season – don’t worry though as I’ll be back with my views for the Galway Festival in the summer.

I have to start with the events of yesterday. I was obviously delighted to win the BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Buveur D’Air (pictured) but obviously I have to spare a thought for Mark Walsh his intended rider. It ended up being a late spare ride for me after Mark took a tumble in the 4.20 and unfortunately missed the ride. I sit next to Mark in the weighing room all year and wish him a speedy recovery, he’s a very good rider.

In the race they went a good pace and he was very accurate all the way – I’ve had the pleasure over the last couple of years to ride a few horses for Nicky Henderson and he really is a master of his trade.

It’s been quite a season but the highlight has to be Tiger Roll’s second win in the Grand National and that was a day I will never forget. It was so special to have my Dad there with me and it is a memory I will treasure forever. I’d also like to congratulate Paul Townend on becoming Champion Jockey and he thoroughly deserves. He has long lived in Ruby’s (Walsh) shadow and will now get the chance to shine as the stable number one. Not only is he a brilliant jockey, he is also a terrific guy and, even though he has big boots to fill, he will do a great job. I’ve got two rides on the final day of the five day meeting and I will be heading to America to ride a few for Gordon (Elliott) next week so there is no rest for the wicked. As for the rest of the summer, I will be riding away as I’ve got plenty of bills to pay! Anyway, here are my thoughts on my chances…

SATURDAY

PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL

3.50pm Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle

Sadly no ride in the feature race of the day which looks at the mercy of Willie Mullins. Only the five runners and Willie is responsible for three of them. I suppose the pick has to be Benie Des Dieux who hasn’t run since crashing out in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham. She is a talented mare and it would be a surprise if she didn’t follow up last year’s success in this race.

COKO BEACH (4.20pm AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle)

My first ride of the day comes in the other Grade One contest where I ride Coko Beach for Gordon. He’s not been seen since finishing a good second to Band Of Outlaws at Cheltenham and seems to be maturing nicely. Whether he quite has the class to beat the likes of Fusil Raffles and Fakir D’Oudairies remains to be seen, but he is definitely heading in the right direction. Of those two, I was very impressed by the way the former won at Kempton and he looks the one we all have to beat here.

CARTWRIGHT (5.35pm Ballymore Handicap Hurdle)

Finally, Cartwright takes his chance in the handicap hurdle after running okay at Ayr the last day. I suppose that run was no better than okay after a bold showing in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and he will have to step up on both of those runs if he is to get involved here. I guess the plus side is that the handicapper has given him a bit of a chance by dropping him 3lbs, so I’m hoping of a good showing. There are plenty of classy types in here including Mr Adjudicator, Jezki and Ivanovich Gorbatov, so this will be no easy task.

Good luck and thanks for reading my blog all season. I hope you have enjoyed it and I am looking forward to Galway already.

Good Luck
DAVY


If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at content@starsportsbet.co.uk and we’ll try and include in the next blog…