A risky bet on recent form but we stick with the class horse in the field in Myska (4/1), winner of a Listed Mares Novice hurdle at Taunton which is easily the best form in the field with Jessber’s Dream (2nd) and Surtee Du Berlais (3rd) both running well on future runs. Her last two runs have been poor – she was found to be coughing following her last place finish at Punchestown in January but there was no clear reason for her poor performance last time out. She wouldn’t be running here if Willie Mullins didn’t think she would run closer to form and if she does 4/1 will look a very big price.
She may be one of the youngest and lowest weighted mares in this race, but in Missy Tata (5/2) Gordon Elliott has a mare with plenty of promise.. She finished second to consistent Graded performer Rashaan in her final race as a three year old in November, after winning her maiden contest at Down Royal the month before. Considering her lack of experience, she was well fancied going into the Fred Winter at Cheltenham, where she battled well and stayed on strongly to finished four length behind the fast finishing Diego Du Charmil in fourth place. Even with Jack Kennedy taking off 3lb though, the Fred Winter isn’t strong enough form to feel that she deserves to be such a short price today.
Cashelard Lady (6/1) was second to Augusta Kate on her final run on the flat and has made an impressive transition to jump racing this season. She romped to victory on her hurdling debut in January, going off as the 15/8 favourite and leaving a modest field almost 40 lengths in her wake. She was moved up into Graded company for her next two runs, finishing eleven lengths behind Limini in second at Fairyhouse, before coming fourth in a Grade One mares race around the same track over two and a half miles, which was eventually won by the highly rated Jer’s Girl. Shane Crawley will be hoping that the drop back in trip will see his six year old return to winning ways and she does get 3lb off the favourite.
Seventh behind Jer’s Girl in that Grade One was Ten Times Better (16/1), but she looks like being a much more dangerous prospect on the good going here at Punchestown. After winning both early season outings at Clonmel, she has spent the rest of the season running in Graded contests, but she hasn’t put in the kind of performances Pat Fahy would have been hoping for and didn’t really feature at the business end of any of those big races. The quality in this race is a little weaker compared the those previous runs and the drop back to two miles should suit too. She looks like being a credible challenger at an Each Way price.
Another who will appreciate the better ground will be Warren Greatrex’s Miss Estella (20/1), who has won both her career runs when the going has been good. She’s only ran twice this season, weakening to finish third on soft ground at Market Rasen in February, but bounced back on dryer ground at Exeter last month, winning a modest 17 furlong contest by four lengths. This will be the strongest field she has come up against during her short hurdling career, and she has a lot to find at the weights compared to a handicap, but she could run well at a big price.