AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

DAVY RUSSELL Tues: Punchestown Tuesday

It’s the first day of the Punchestown Festival which is always a great way to end the season. There is always a terrific atmosphere and some top quality racing too. Gordon (Elliott) has the team in great nick so the horses go there in good form which is a huge plus. I’ve plenty of nice rides to look forward to on what will be decent watered ground. Here are my thoughts on those rides and the other big races…




My best chance of the day probably comes in the opener where I ride Party Central (pictured below) in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle. Listen, she was a little disappointing in Cheltenham as she travelled into the race strongly but just faded out of contention. Whether she got stuck in the mud or not, I’m not totally sure, but she’s better than that. The better surface will definitely help and I expect her to put up a good show. Obviously, Willie (Mullins) looks to hold the dangers with Dinoblue likely to build on her last run. I’d also be windy of the maiden Instit of his down the bottom, she could be anything.

VINA ARDANZA – 4.15pm (Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle – Grade One)

The first Grade One action of the week where I’m back aboard Vina Ardanza who ran a lovely race in Aintree when third to Jonbon. He’s in at the deep end again here against the likes of Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo. There will be no hanging around here as they will go a ferocious pace and it looks a real good contest despite there only being the five of them. Sir Gerhard sets a high bar and will be hard to beat. As for Mighty Potter, he was disappointing in Cheltenham but is better than he showed that day. However, this is a real test for him.

ESKYLANE – 4.50pm

We were delighted with the way Eskylane (pictured below) ran in Fairyhouse when a good fifth behind Glan. We’re 7lbs better off with her here, but she remains the one to beat. Life is tough for Eskylane and this looked the only real option for him before he embarks on a chasing career. Looking at the dangers and Ardla still looks really well handicapped and In From The Cold is another who can go well.

CAPTAIN GUINNESS – 5.25pm (William Hill Champion Chase – Grade One)

Only the five runners for the Champion Chase but with the likes of Energumene, Chacun Pour Soi and Envoi Allen, it promises to be a cracker. I ride Captain Guinness for Henry De Bromhead who was a little stretched by the trip in Aintree. I’d say he will be much better suited to this return to two miles, although he is taking on the very best. Energumene is obviously the one to beat on paper having won in Cheltenham the last day, but you can never dismiss Chacun Pour Soi back on his own patch. He just seems to fire here and may take some pegging back.

6.35pm (Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase – Grade One)

No ride for me in the final Grade One of the day, which looks another cracker. Obviously, Bob Olinger sets the standard on his step up to three miles for the first time, but he wasn’t at his best in Cheltenham. He’d have to appear here in much better shape and could be a little bit vulnerable. Capodanno may be the one to cause him the most trouble on this sound surface, while Fury Road ran well in Aintree. Looking at the rest of them and it’s much more open than many may feel with Ballyshannon Rose even having a small squeak.

Good Luck