The feature race on Thursday’s Punchestown card is the Grade 3 Irish Daily Star Chase over 3m 1f. Read our horse-by-horse race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Smashing enjoying a productive season over shorter trips on slow ground for Henry de Bromhead in 2015/16 and there’s every chance he can make further progress over 3m+ for his new stable this term. However, he lacks a recent run and, on this occasion, the other progressive 7yo, LORD SCOUNDREL, could have the edge. Gordon Elliott’s gelding produced an excellent performance to claim the Galway Plate this summer and was arguably unlucky not to collect another valuable prize when falling in the Kerry National last month. Sadler’s Risk has a good chance on the figures but may not have the class of the first two mentioned. Clarcam may be stretched by today’s trip and has to carry the maximum penalty, having won a Grade 1 in 2015.
1 Clarcam – Probably wasn’t suited by the heavy ground when well beaten in the Kerry National last month and is better judged on his fifth to Lord Scoundrel in the Galway Plate (2m6f, good to soft) in July; better off at the weights with his stablemate here but today’s trip may stretch him, and the 10lb penalty he shoulders for a Grade 1 win in 2015 probably leaves him vulnerable.
2 Smashing – Pulled up in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival in March but won his other four starts for Henry de Bromhead last season, including a couple of soft-ground 2m4f Grade 2 events from the front; goes beyond about 2m5f for the first time on today’s debut for Mouse Morris and can play a leading role if the new trip suits.
3 Lord Scoundrel – Progressive 7yo who landed the Galway Plate (2m6f, yielding) in July and held every chance before penultimate-fence fall in the Kerry National at Listowel (3m, heavy) last month; should be fine on today’s ground and Ruby Walsh takes over from a conditional rider; likely to be a very tough nut to crack.
4 Dromnea – Absent since well beaten over the big Aintree fences in April; ran with credit in a couple of valuable handicaps on heavy ground during the winter but faces a very tough assignment today and the stable has a much more obvious chance with Smashing.
5 Federici – Makes quick reappearance after pulling up in first-time cheekpieces (now removed) in the Munster National on Sunday and, even if back on song today, looks out of his depth in this company.
6 Sadler’s Risk – Placed in the 2015 Galway Plate before going on to win the Munster National at Limerick (3m, yielding) a year ago; not seen again until June but has run well in defeat on both starts this season (chase/hurdle) and, at today’s weights, there’s a good chance he can make his presence felt here.
myracing Forecast Prices: 7/4 Smashing. 2/1 Lord Scoundrel, 3/1 Sadler’s Risk, 7/1 Clarcam, 33/1 Dromnea, 50/1 Federici