DAVY RUSSELL: Punchestown Sunday

I was delighted to ride a winner at Navan on Saturday with Hardline who did it nicely. On to Sunday’s action at Punchestown where the feature is the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase which had been earmarked as the potential starting point for Presenting Percy. However, his connections have opted to hold fire for a bit longer as there are plenty of options available for him over Christmas time, ground dependent, and it is sensible to wait. I ride The Storyteller now, but more about his chances below. The ground was ‘yielding’ at Navan, after all the rain and it remains ‘good’ for Punchestown. Here are my thoughts on my six rides…

SUNDAY

PUNCHESTOWN

COUNT SIMON (12.20pm)

He is a very consistent horse who had a busy time over the summer. He would have a good chance here on the ratings and hopefully can put his experience to good use. However, the one to beat here is Ballyneety for Joseph (O’Brien) who won his maiden last month in Gowran and is open to improvement.

AONGHUS SONG (12.55pm)

He is a grand horse who won his maiden point to point and then finished third next time out. It’s a big ask here to win this hot maiden with the likes of Tornado Flyer in this field for Willie (Mullins). He is a very talented horse who won a grade 1 bumper in Punchestown back in April and looks like he could become a very useful hurdler. There are dangers left, right and centre here but we will take a chance and hope for a good run.

GROTESQUE (1.25pm)

Hopefully the drop down into handicap company and the application of cheek pieces for the first time might bring him forward – they will need to if he is going to win a race like this. He won his point to point back in 2015, then won a bumper in Gowran in 2016, but has been lightly raced since for a seven-year-old.

THE STORYTELLER (2.00pm The John Durkan Memorial Chase Grade 1)

I ride The Storyteller for Gordon (Elliott) in what looks a cracking race – what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in quality. I have had some brilliant days on this fella winning at the Cheltenham festival last season and then again at the Punchestown and I’m looking forward to getting back aboard. He didn’t run too badly at Down Royal last month and will come forward for that. It’s hard to rule out any one of them with Min bringing the strongest form to the table.

MOON OVER GERMANY (2.30pm)

He hasn’t run for a whopping 864 days so it will be some performance to bring him back to win a race like this. He won’t have a problem with the ground but may just have a problem seeing off Getabird who looks an exciting recruit to fences. Gordon (Elliott) runs Mitchouka who was clear when he fell at the last at Gowran on his chasing debut. He may just have needed that last run back so can be in the mix too.

NICOLE’S MILAN (3.00pm)

I won on him at Fairyhouse last February and things haven’t really gone his way since. I rode him when he was beaten on his reappearance last month and he may just need a bit more help from the handicapper. He wears a tongue-tie for the first time so hopefully that may help.

DAVY


YOUR SAY

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