The final day of the Punchestown Festival is sure to be an exhilarating one, with Willie Mullins’ Tarla and Diakali two who look set to impress for the in-form yard.
The AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle is Mullins’-dominated as he saddles four of the six entries, with Diakali and Blood Cotil likely to lead the betting for the champion trainer. Following the disappointing withdrawal of the superb Our Conor, the race is wide open and provides a tricky betting heat. Stocktons Wing provides threat excusing his fall latest but Ruby Walsh’s pick Diakali looks to have enough to win this following his fourth at Cheltenham behind Our Conor.
Tarla got back to winning ways last time out over hurdles after falling twice over fences previously. She will continue over hurdles here in the ITBA Fillies EBF Mares’ Hurdle and looks a prominent danger to seal back-to-back wins. Stable mate Glens Melody looks the major contender after a fine run behind the ultra-impressive Annie Power in a race that Mullins’ is set to dominate. Nick Williams’ Swincombe Flame makes the trip from England but will have to be at her best to compete.
The Irish Field Chase is set to be a fantastic contest as well as a wide open betting heat. There is plenty of proven class between the fifteen entries and Zest For Life will be hoping to secure a festival double, after the impressive victory in the Sean Breen Memorial Chase on Monday. Uncle Junior and Outlaw Pete both fell here on Thursday and will hope to make amends, however Shakervilz ran a great race behind Big Shu at Cheltenham and looks a prominent contender.
The 2m2f Madra Irish Dog Foods Novice Chase shapes up to be another duel between the two Mullins’ entries, Aupcharlie and Mikael D’haguenet, although both have been slightly disappointing of late and need to recuperate form. Gordon Elliot’s Toner D’Oudairies needs to improve but warrants respect, whilst Dylan Ross and Grey Gold add depth to a tricky heat.
On His Own will be hoping to improve after falling for a second time in the Aintree Grand National, but carrying top weight is sure to put him up against it. Irish Grand National winner Liberty Counsel is handed a 10lb rise, however, is one to watch after that career best latest, whilst Sword Fish and Wyck Hill are in with a chance.
The Setanta Sports Handicap Hurdle provides another wide open betting heat with Noel Meade’s Il Fenomeno likely to lead the betting. Si C’Etait Vrai is a likely contender; however Byerley Babe is progressing rapidly and at 10-8 looks a perfect weight to run a cracker.
The penultimate race of the festival is the Peggy Barry-Walsh Memorial (Pro/Am) Flat Race and with nineteen runners entered, the race is sure to be a difficult betting heat. Der Kaiser, High Handel and Martello Tower all have victories to their name, giving them an advantage here; however the heavy ground could take its toll on any of them. With so many unraced runners in the line-up, this contest is wide open and could produce some future stars.
The charity race is sure to be a very open, twenty-eight horse race and will provide an exciting end to a great festival. Some likely to run well are Rockaboya, Director’s Forum and Collingwood.
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