7.15pm Punchestown Tips & Betting Preview 27/04/2017

She’s looked progressive the last twice and AWAYINTHEWEST can give a good account of herself for Peter Fahy after some solid runs the last twice. On her penultimate start at Clonmel she was a very close second behind Kate Appleby Shoes when only beaten by a head and she improved on that effort when a 100/1 sixth in the Mares’ Novice at Cheltenham in March, staying on after a poor passage up the home run to finish not far behind Asthuria. If taking another step forward she will be right in the thick of this and with Cillin Leonard’s seven pound claim taken into account, she looks likely to go very close and is respected.

With Ruby’s blessing, it looks as though the Willie Mullins first string will be Asthuria, though her form makes her risky to say the least. She has won once over hurdles in seven attempts, with that win coming back in November at Fairyhouse, but she fell on two proceeding runs which is somewhat off putting. She was ahead and under a hands and heels ride when coming down at the last on her penultimate star at Fairyhouse which was encouraging if you discount the fall and she was far from disgraced when a running on fifth at Cheltenham in the Mares’ Novice at the Festival. She’s entitled to be involved and perhaps sets the standard at her best with conditions to suit, though the suspicion would have to be that she would prefer further and her jumping isn’t fantastic at points. Risky but clearly a useful mare.

Perhaps a more solid option would be Gordon Elliott’s Barra, who has been running consistently well all season for Gigginstown and can give this another good go despite having a busy year. She has been on the premises on all her starts his campaign, with a good fifth in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in February against the boys before finishing a solid second behind Let’s Dance in the Mares’ Novice at the Festival in March, five lengths ahead of Asthuria on that occasion. That form is around the best on offer and with conditions to suit she is entitled to go close, with the fact she hasn’t come down over timber perhaps making her a much more solid option. Bryan Cooper takes the ride and all signs point to a big run if this isn’t one step too far this season for the six year old.

Willie Mullins is never short of ammunition and Good Thyne Tara looks to have a good chance, which begs the question as to why she’s been shunned by Ruby Walsh. Looking progressive this season for the top trainer, she made her hurdling debut at Clonmel in February when winning easily despite some questionable jumps and she backed up that performance when forth in Grade 1 company at Fairyhouse, only 3/4 of a length behind Barra on that occasion. She seems to have more room for progress than that rival and the form ties her closely with Asthuria, so she looks booked to go close under David Mullins with conditions to suit. Very interesting.

Although she has something to find on bare ratings, Miss Mardan has some good form posted and she should still have some improvement left in her for Sean Bryne. Showing promise when second on hurdling debut at Naas in January, she took a step forward to win a Navan maiden in February and perhaps wasn’t disgraced when last seen in Grade 3 company at Limerick back in March. She should appreciate going back down in trip and although the better ground is an unknown, it could prompt some further progress from the eight year old mare. The trainers last runner was a winner and Mark Bolger takes the ride, so she may well be overpriced and can give it a go for connections.

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