Sport Horse Racing

Friday 20 April 2018

Don't take risk on Faugheen's return to action

Davy Russell. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Davy Russell. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Wayne Bailey

Today's card at Punchestown is one of those funny ones. There's quite a few short-priced horses in the early trading and if they all came in, the bookmakers could be left seriously wounded.

It's tempting to throw them into doubles and trebles but I reckon some of the favourites are weak, so one or two single bets might be the sensible option.

Gordon Elliott's MITCHOUKA looks nailed on for the opening Luna Bar Supporting Cavan GAA 3-Y-O Hurdle (12.05) under Davy Russell, but you won't be getting rich backing at 4/9 so it's a race best watched without a bet.

Russell (above) rides MONALEE in the following Racing Post Irish Stud & Stable Staff Beginners Chase (12.35). Second in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, he finished off the season tamely at Punchestown but he gets the nod here to win his first race over fences, priced around 6/5.

Willie Mullins' Let's Dance will be all the rage in the Listed Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle (2.20) having won the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, but 4/9 early doors looks really skinny.

She wasn't disgraced in defeat in her following two Group Ones but Gordon Elliott's BARRA, which was second in that Cheltenham race, is better value around 10/3.

She was a disappointing odds-on favourite at Wexford recently, but she looked in need of the run and that pipe-opener may give her the edge.

The Devil's number 666 is seen an unlucky omen but hopefully FAUGHEEN will just about avoid any misfortune, having been away from the track for 665 days.

Not seen due to injury since winning the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2016, he makes his eagerly awaited return in the Grade One Unibet Morgiana Hurdle tomorrow (2.15).

Once again, it's a race best watched with his price likely to be long odds-on.

The Mullins camp have said the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner is ready to race again but admitted they were a little apprehensive as he's now a couple of years older.

Punters should remember too that he lost his unbeaten record in this race two years ago priced 1/6, which once again proved there are no dead certs in this business.

All racing fans would love to see him win but I'm not going to risk any money finding out if he's still as good as ever.

In tomorrow's Grade Two Ryans Cleaning Craddockstown Novice Chase (1.05), TOMBSTONE gets the nod for Elliott and Russell at odds of 5/4 or thereabouts.

Second on his debut over fences in October, he got off the mark in a beginners' chase at Down Royal last time and looks like he has improvement to come. Stablemate Brelade looks the biggest danger.

A little later, Patrick Kelly's PRESENTING PERCY should take all the beating in the Grade Two Liam & Valerie Brennan Memorial Florida Pearl Novice Chase (1.40).

The Cheltenham Pertemps Final winner couldn't follow up in a Grade One hurdle at Punchestown, but he landed his first race over the bigger obstacles in fine style at Galway just before Hallowe'en.

We also have racing tomorrow from Cork and I'm quite keen on Michael Winters' GRANNY BIDDY, a course and distance winner which was trading around 11/4 yesterday evening for the J.P. McManus Handicap Hurdle (1.55).

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport