Tomorrow’s Punchestown card features two races that are, arguably, superior to anything seen at Cheltenham or Aintree with the clash between the novice chasers Monkfish and Envoi Allen over three miles simply mouth-watering.
There is a decent 10f handicap at Ayr today and Dream With Me will be all the rage having gone off far too quickly over an additional quarter of a mile at Pontefract last time under apprentice Oliver Stammers. Mark Johnston’s 4-y-old was still at least five lengths clear two furlongs out but faded close home. This trip looks ideal but that has not been lost on the books and marginal preference is for Sudona (3.45) who should be spot on for today having had a recent pipe-opener at Chelmsford.
The ew selection was 12s on Sunday but is a best price of 17/2 with BetVictor at the time of posting. A truly run 10f on good ground looks ideal although he is still 4lbs higher than when scoring over today’s trip at Pontefract last summer.
Raymond looks sure to go off a short price in the finale given how well he has been running over hurdles and on the all-weather of late. It may be significant, however, that Pearl Warrior (4.20) won first time out last season when trained by Johnny Murtagh. At his best, the selection – 2s with MansionBet – is a bold front-runner and I hope to see Andrew Mullen get an uncontested lead. Trainer Iain Jardine has gone over two months since he had a winner on the flat, but it is surely only a matter of time before his string strike gold.
Rab Havlin didn’t have the greatest experience on his last visit to Lingfield Park but I hope to see him back in the winner’s enclosure courtesy of Moselle Valley (3.05) in the 12f fillies’ maiden. The selection – 8/11 from Evens with Boylesports – is not one of the Gosden stable stars, but the Lloyd-Webbers will be keen to get a win under her belt. This looks a very good opportunity given she looked a thorough stayer when running on into second over a furlong shorter at Kempton last time.
At Windsor it is hard to get away from the prospects of Lochanthem (7.20) in the mile handicap given she carries just a 6lbs penalty for an 8L success in a 10f handicap at Yarmouth last week. The filly – 5/6 from 6/5 with William Hill – travelled well in her first-time visor and led two furlongs out on that occasion and the hope is that she can cope with the drop back down in distance. Oisin Murphy keeps the ride, and the hope is that the headgear works the oracle again.
Chris Wall has got his string in tremendous form and in the finale, I hope to see Goldie Hawk (7.50) make a winning reappearance. The filly – 10/3 with William Hill – won her last three starts in 2020 and is 20lbs higher than when beginning her sequence at Lingfield – turf – back in August. This is a hot handicap and they bet 10/3 the field in a six-runner race with last week’s C&D winner Ranco considered the main danger for David Pipe.