4.15pm Punchestown Tips & Betting Preview 28/04/2016

Last years renewal was won by Jacksonslady (6/1) and the eleven year old mare will be back again to defend her title. Since that convincing five length win, she has tried her hand at longer trips, but things haven’t quite gone to plan. She was the final finisher in last years Galway Plate, then fared a little better when up against many of the same competitors, staying on well to come third in the three mile Munster National Handicap Chase. The drop back in trip should suit, as four of her last five wins have come over this distance and Phil Dempsey has already stated she runs well fresh. She’s only 5 pounsd higher than last year and with very similar conditions she’s a good price in a field containing a number of exposed opponents.

Jess Harrington’s Rock The World (7/2) was backed all the way into favoritism at the Cheltenham Festival, but struggled in traffic for much of the Grand Annual trip and by the time he had found a clear path and got into his running, he could only finish third. He really struggled in the Grade One at Aintree, finishing miles behind the leaders, but the ground was a little too soft for him and the step up to two and a half miles didn’t suit at all. He’s got good track form, winning well back in December 2014 on his last start here, but that was off a hurdles mark off 123 and he doesn’t look obviously well handicapped off 147 here.

Sizing Codelco (7/1) unseated Johnny Burke at the first in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham, repeating his dismal start to the Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown just after Christmas, where Barry Geraghty was also thrown from the saddle before the race had even got going. However, when he has managed to get past the first fence, Henry De Bromhead’s seven year old has looked good. He comfortably won off the top weight on his reappearance at Listowel, then finished a close second to Shaneshill on heavy ground at Naas in January. The current going at Punchestown this week might be a problem, but if the track softens up a bit, he could be a credible challenger. It may be worth waiting until he’s jumped the first cleanly before backing him though…

Gentleman Duke (10/1) is the second string for McManus, and was struggling with the soft ground earlier in the season, running poorly on three of his four runs during the autumn. However, on the one occasion he was presented with his favoured good ground, he produced a smooth run and stayed on strongly to beat the heavily backed favourite, Crown Theatre by half a length. That win made it three wins from his last four starts in handicaps on good ground for eight year old, so he’s definitely a challenger in these conditions with the promising Jack Kennedy taking off 3lb at an Each Way price.

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