DAVY RUSSELL: Punchestown Sunday

It was a good day at the office on Saturday with two winners at Punchestown. I was very pleased with Commander Of Fleet, it was his first day at school as far as hurdles go and he was very much learning about the game as the race went on. He stayed on really well close home and remains a really exciting prospect. He’a now the winner of a point to point, bumper and hurdle from just three races!

Star Maker left his Galway form behind with a game success in the handicap hurdle.

Hopefully the good form will continue on Sunday. It goes without saying it’s a massive day for me with Samcro set to go in the Morgiana Hurdle (ground dependent) and Blow By Blow in the Florida Pearl.

Over at Cheltenham in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle two I’ll be keeping an eye on are Verdana Blue who I’ve ridden before. She’s a lovely mare who arrives in cracking form but the 5lb penalty isn’t ideal in a race like this. Western Ryder looks on a fair mark at the moment and has some really good course form in the book.



STOOSHIE (12.35pm)

Is really consistent, but a victim of his own success and is therefore still too high in the handicap. He keeps running his race but might just need some help from the handicapper if he is to get his head in front.


Another one in the grip of the handicapper. A winner at Gowran in October but has been held since off a higher mark at Punchestown and Down Royal. He’s the only course and distance winner in the field and is never usually too far away. Main danger might come from Mighty Stowaway who won his beginners chase at Thurles with plenty in hand.

BLOW BY BLOW (1.40pm Florida Pearl Novice Chase)

A grand big horse who made a pleasing start to his chasing career when pulling clear at Galway to win by 17 lengths. He may ideally want softer ground but has winning form on good to yielding. He should appreciate a stronger gallop, which he might well get here from the confirmed front runner Nick Lost. It’s a competitive race but hopefully Blow By Blow will give Gordon (Elliott) his third consecutive winner of the Florida Pearl.

SAMCRO (2.15pm Unibet Morgiana Hurdle)

I can’t wait to ride him and it’s lovely to be asked to ride one like him. Samcro’s a horse that all jockeys dream of riding. The key though will be the ground and Gordon has stated his participation is very much ground dependent. Basically, I went to bed on Saturday praying for some overnight rain. I’m not too concerned about his defeat at Down Royal. That will have blown the cobwebs away and he’s done really well since. It was also his first race since taking a fall, so hopefully his confidence is fully restored. Willie Mullins has an incredible record in this and he has three of the six runners including of course last year’s winner Faugheen. Jessie (Harrington) has her string in great form and Supasundae who won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (the race Samcro fell in) is a top class performer in his own right. Bring it on.

SATOSHI (3.20pm)

I don’t know too much about this fella. He was ninth on debut in a bumper here and joined Gordon after that. It’s a tough start though for him over hurdles, especially with Relegate in the race who won the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and is now starting his career over obstacles.



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