Day 4 of Punchestown’s spring Festival and in the 2m 5f novices’ handicap chase Port Stanley (4.15) improved for the step up to 2m 4f when runner up in a Beginners Chase at Cork last time.
Jessica Harrington has saddled the winner of the corresponding race three times in the last seven renewals and this winning pointer/hurdler has bits of form which suggest he could be well treated carrying just 10st 6lbs. He was beaten just 4L by Envoi Allen in a Bumper and beat Nicky Henderson’s Falco Blitz – now rated 143 – between the flags. The selection – 11s with BetVictor 5 places – remains a maiden after six starts over fences, but he has been highly tried and Robbie Power takes over in the saddle.
Willie Mullins has trained the winner on four of the last seven times the race has been run, and he saddles four this afternoon including top-weight Asterion Collonges and Antey and it is the latter who is considered the main danger.
Honeysuckle puts her unbeaten record on the line in the Champion Hurdle and she is hard to oppose although she represents little value and there is the possibility, she was flattered by the margin of her victory last time with several of her rivals failing to complete or underperforming.
Goshen (5.25) is unbeaten going right-handed over timber and I was impressed with the manner of his Kingwell Hurdle success at Wincanton on his penultimate start. Clan Des Obeaux won the feature race of the whole meeting on Wednesday and it would be a major fillip for British jumps racing if they were to land the two feature races of the whole Festival. I expect Jamie Moore to ride the each way selection – 10s with Boylesports – forward although Jason The Militant and Aspire Tower are others who like to race prominently.
Gaillard Du Mesnil has seven lengths to make up with Bob Olinger (6.00) and there seems no logical reason why he should reverse the form later today. Indeed, Bob Olinger’s Ballymore success was one of the highlights of the jumps season although a couple of bubbles have already been burst this week.
At Goodwood, Henry Candy has his string in top form and Bimble (1.00) is taken to build on her promising Windsor reappearance when she travelled well but failed to get home. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle and the filly won her sole previous start over today’s C&D. After just six career starts, she might have more to offer this term. There was 10/3 available on Thursday first thing with William Hill but she was a best price of 2s with 10Bet at the time of posting.
Amanda Perrett has made a good start to the campaign and Platitude (4.25) has certainly been given a chance by the handicapper. This dual C&D winner – 10/3 with MansionBet – is 9lbs lower than when finishing a good fourth beaten just 3L at the Glorious meeting here at the beginning of August. Solar Screen and Prince Imperial are the obvious dangers, and they are half the age of the selection.
The draw in stall ten at Newcastle is a concern for Chichester (6.20) who steps up in trip from a mile to 10f having run away with a handicap on his first start for Keith Dalgleish here earlier in the month. The selection – 10/3 with William Hill – has been hit with a 9lb hike in the weights, but he remains open to further improvement having had his wind operated on ahead of his fluent win here last time.
Live Your Dream makes his first start since scoring over C&D 571 days ago for Saeed bin Suroor and looks the main danger especially if the market speaks in his favour.