Faugheen only has to jump around to claim Champion
Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30
The Queally Group Champion Hurdle at Punchestown today doesn't take a whole lot of analysing.
If Faugheen is on his game and jumps around, he won't be troubled by any of his rivals. He is a bit of a freak.
At times he can be awkward at his hurdles but he doesn't seem to lose any momentum or ground. I can't see him being beaten.
Arctic Fire is coming here on the back of a bad fall. He might have beaten Jezki had he not turned over at Aintree, but the two of them were a long way behind Faugheen at Cheltenham. That tells its own story.
Nichols Canyon is also going to take a bit of beating for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh in the Grade One novices' hurdle.
He raced too keenly for his own good at Cheltenham, but he settles better when he races up with the pace.
At Aintree, he looked far more mature, so I'd imagine that he will take plenty stopping. Alpha Des Obeaux was running a blinder when he fell alongside Thistlecrack at Liverpool.
He'll have plenty use made of him over this shorter trip and he should run well, but Sempre Medici could be the one for the forecast.
Paul Townend rode Outlander to be second to Shaneshill at Fairyhouse and presumably could have ridden him again here, so it might be significant that he has opted for Sempre Medici.
In the other novices' hurdle, I think Tandem could go very close. He worked in a schooling hurdle alongside Bayan before Bayan ran in France in March and he actually worked better than him.
He hasn't run since disappointing behind Nichols Canyon at Fairyhouse in November, but I don't think he will want for fitness.
The ground wasn't nice at Fairyhouse so the better going here will suit Tandem, and he looked smart when he won at Navan in September.
In the novices' handicap chase, Tennis Cap could be quite well handicapped.
He was second in a County Hurdle off a mark of 141 and he is in off 140 here, having won impressively at Cork last time.
If he jumps as well here for Danny Mullins as he did at Cork, then he will have a big say.
In the mares' handicap chase, Burn And Turn is fancied to collect for a second year in a row.
This isn't a great race and Burn And Turn is a mare with a bit of class, so I'd expect her to make it count, with the drying ground also in her favour.
On The Fringe should complete his hat-trick in the hunters' chase. He was really impressive at Cheltenham and Aintree and he has won this race three times before. If Nina Carberry enjoys average luck on Enda Bolger's stable star, he should score again.
3.40 Mtada Supreme
4.20 Tennis Cap
4.55 Burn And Turn
6.05 Nichols Canyon (Nap)
7.10 Dani Salamanca
7.45 On The Fringe