Hi everyone,

Our selection today Woodland Opera was a big disappointment and ran the worst race of his career for me. He never went a yard and I thought something must be amiss and he would be pulled up. But Robbie Power persevered, to no avail and he plugged on to finish 9th.

What a day for the Willie Mullins team who booted home 6 winners and overtook Gordon Elliott in the race for the Irish Trainers Championship. I was especially pleased for Paul Townend who rode a treble on the day, after yesterday's nightmare I bet he didn't get much sleep last night. It just goes to show how things can turn around in a short space of time.

So we move onto day three of the Punchestown festival and have just the 2 selections, let's hope the gambling gods look on us a bit more kindly than they have been doing recently, and we too can do a 'Townend'!

Good luck,
The team at Cleeve

3.40 Punchestown 2m (2m40y) (Inner) JLT Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 88-123)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Golden Jewel – 228 (Reserve)
2) Apparition – 222
3) Western Ruler – 220
4) Call A Cab – 215

Race analysis:
Our top rated is one of three reserves and needs two to come out to get in, but this is a tough handicap anyway. Nothing stands out so no bet.

 

4.15 Punchestown 2m (Inner) Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (Grade B) (4yo+)

Selections:

Speredek 1 point each way at 11/1 BOG generally (5 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Speredek – 235
2) Bon Papa – 215
3) Balbir Du Mathan – 200
4) Cadmium– 194

Race analysis:
Bon Papa will be fancied due to his connections and as a course and distance winner deserves respect. His price is too short in such a competitive race so not for me.

Balbir Du Mathan has been running in a much lower class and is very consistent, but has only won one form thirteen, so hard to see him winning this.

Cadmium probably lacks the experience to win a race of this calibre and this is a massive step up in class. Cadmium gets in on a nice weight and his stable is always feared at these big meetings, so no surprise to see an improvement.

Speredek has top weight in this handicap for a reason, he is the class horse and dropping back to his best trip is a huge plus. He was pulled up last time when upped to 2 miles 5 furlongs and dropping back on better ground will play to his strengths. If he gets a clear passage he will not be far away.

4.50 Punchestown 4m1½f (4m1f100y) (Bank) Friends First Cross Country Chase for the La Touche Cup (5yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Josies Order – 91
2) Auvergnat – 89
3) Cantlow– 89

Race analysis:
This will a very good race to watch but no selection for us.

 

5.30 Punchestown 3m (Inner) Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Faugheen – 109
2) Identity Thief – 103
3) Penhill – 102

Race analysis:
Faugheen was tempting at a decent price (as big as 9/1 when this was written), but he has not looked the same class horse this season following injury. But in saying that the way the Mullins team have been banging in the winners I wouldn’t be surprised if he bounced back to some semblance of form, and with 6 other Mullins runners in the race as we’ve seen so far anyone of them could win. Therefore no bet for us.

 

6.05 Punchestown 3m (Inner) Alanna Homes Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+)

Selections:

Minella Awards 1 point each way at 14/1 BOG Boylesports (6 Places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Last Goodbye – 254
2) Rooster Byron – 244
3) Miles To Memphis – 227
4) Folsom Blue – 211

Race analysis:
Last Goodbye is not without his chances here, despite having been over fences for some time. He has a 75% strike rate over hurdles, but as I keep saying it takes horses a few runs to adjust usually.

Rooster Byron is one of the reserves and although he has won his last two I think he would need to show considerable improvement to challenge here.

Miles To Memphis was beaten by Ah Littleluck at Fairyhouse and it would be a surprise to see him reverse that form. He has an average winning strike rate and if he gets in the top six that will be a good performance.

Folsom Blue remains highly weighted and it is hard to see him winning here as it is unlikely that he will be able to improve.

Minella Awards won this race last season and was pulled up on his only run this season. He runs off an eight pounds higher mark, but I think he has further improvement to come. Minella Awards was pulled up in the Betfair Hurdle back in November on unsuitably heavy going and a return to this trip and surface should suit. I expect him to win this again and Noel Fehily up is another positive.

 

6.40 Punchestown 2m (Inner) Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) Selection: No Bet

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Footpad – 68
2) Petit Mouchoir – 64
3) Saturnas – 53

Race analysis:
Footpad is unlikely to lose unless he falls, or brought down; however, his price reflects his chance. No Bet.

 

7.15 Punchestown 2m (2m40y) (Inner) Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Moyhenna – 154
2) Glens Harmony – 152
3) Cut The Mustard – 140
4) Dawn Shadow – 126

Race analysis:
A big field of novice mares over two miles is not my idea of a betting opportunity but the top two should go close.