Landofhopeandglory set to lay down marker
Joseph O'Brien is just 7/4 with Paddy Power to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the best of the juveniles we have seen so far, Landofhopeandglory, is impossible to oppose in today's Luna Bar Supporting Cavan GAA 3-Y-O Hurdle at Punchestown.
When the son of High Chaparral won on debut at the Galway festival, he was talked of as a Derby horse.
It was not expected that he would end up jumping for Joseph O'Brien but such is racing and he was extremely impressive on his hurdles debut at Fairyhouse.
Cantering throughout, he generally jumped well, and was eased long before the wire by Barry Geraghty. Mark Walsh takes the mount today on one of four penalised runners in this race.
His performance at Fairyhouse was far more laudable than what the other three achieved in victory.
Let's Dance brings a little class to the Listed Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle, which is a pretty ordinary race for a black-type event. The daughter of Poliglote, representing the in-form Willie Mullins, is comfortably clear of these rivals on form.
She has had five starts for Mullins, winning at Sligo in a maiden hurdle in May when last seen.
Prior to that she was a modest second to Apple's Jade in a Grade One at Punchestown and, though the best four-year-olds have not set the world on fire this season, she should be able to take advantage of a weight concession.
JP McManus' Coney Island is a fascinating runner in the Gain Supporting Laois GAA Beginners Steeplechase. He was really progressive as a novice hurdler, last season's campaign culminating in a half-length second to Belshill at Punchestown.
However, marginal preference is for the Pat Kelly-trained Mall Dini. A horse which travels smoothly in his races, he earned a heartwarming win for a small County Galway stable in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham festival in March.
The Handicap Steeplechase is a competitive contest but Call It Magic may provide the answer. He never seems to run a bad race and a mark of 123 could underestimate his ability after a ready success at Wexford.
Pat Kelly also has a live runner in the Festival 3 For 2 Ticket Offer Novice Handicap Hurdle in the shape of Presenting Percy but preference is for Llancillo Lord, which scored smoothly at Naas and represents a trainer in excellent form.
In the concluding bumper, The Comediologist can score for Noel Meade.
It may be a good day for the stable, which has a promising sort in the Kildare Now Maiden Hurdle in Moulin A Vent.
This is an intriguing event, since Willie Mullins has sourced Senewalk from France, by the sire of Douvan and Min in Walk In The Park. Senewalk ran twice in France, winning a three-year-old maiden at the seaside venue of Les Sables-d'Olonne when last witnessed.
Banks action resumes in the Risk Of Thunder Chase, with Foxrock taken to stamp his class. It was unexpected that he was rerouted to this discipline last season, though he did not take up an engagement in the cross-country race at Cheltenham.
Willie Mullins unveils Timi Roli in the Hurricane Fly colours in Cork's opener tomorrow, with Paul Townend picking up the main rides for the stable due to Ruby Walsh being at Punchestown. However, he may find it difficult to beat the Mouse Morris-trained No Brainer, a fine third on debut.
In the second maiden hurdle, smart bumper performer Bacardys cannot be opposed in a race won by stablemates Black Hercules and Belshill at prohibitive odds over the past two years.
There is a pair of €25,000 contests at the Mallow venue, starting with the Blackwater Handicap Hurdle. Mullins runs Isleofhopendreams, which seems to have been exceptionally difficult to train, but preference is for Seskinane, which looks reasonably well-handicapped.
In the Newmarket Motors Volkswagen Handicap Steeplechase, My Hometown may come good for Enda Bolger. He did not live up to his reputation last season but time is his ally and likely he is better than this rating.
The beginners' chase is a decent event and Golden Plan, which has course form, can score for young trainer Mark Fahey. He made a nice start to steeplechasing when second to Grange Hall at Sligo.
The bumper should go the way of Monbeg Worldwide under Luke McGuinness, who will likely benefit now that Nina Carberry is out for the rest of the campaign.