Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 16 December 2018

Punches Cross expected to shine at Thurles

Punches Cross could be another winner for in-form Mark Walsh in the Munster Beginners Steeplechase. Stock photo: Getty Images
Punches Cross could be another winner for in-form Mark Walsh in the Munster Beginners Steeplechase. Stock photo: Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

There is free entry to today's rescheduled meeting at Thurles, where Punches Cross could be another winner for in-form Mark Walsh in the Munster Beginners Steeplechase.

Walsh, who had a treble at Naas on Saturday, is reunited with Joseph O'Brien's charge, which can be expected to improve from his fifth place at Downpatrick last month.

The 122-rated Mighty Stowaway is clearly the horse to beat, although his best form is on much slower ground, so connection will welcome any overnight rain.

The Mighty Stowaway team of John 'Shark' Hanlon and Rachael Blackmore also link up with Whatsinthecorner, which looks to have a solid chance in the Thurles Handicap Chase over two miles and two furlongs.

Walsh and O'Brien might land the Cashel Maiden Hurdle with Leave Your Mark, which faced a tough task when sixth to Felix Desjy in Galway. Gordon Elliott operates at a strike rate of more than 20pc at Thurles, so his newcomer Load Up Time is well worth considering in the other maiden hurdle.

Walkers Point kept the short-priced favourite honest in Wexford last month and ought to be competitive when lining up for the Templemore Handicap Hurdle.

Michael Winters identified this race for Fintown Boy after he won in Fairyhouse during the week and he rates as a significant threat.

Rain In Spain makes a quick reappearance in the Urlingford Handicap Hurdle under a 4lb penalty for winning at this track last Thursday. She won well by three and a half lengths and is sure to be popular, as Ricky Doyle's 5lb claim more than offsets the rise.

Willie Mullins introduces Miss Shoe City in the bumper and this should be a good opportunity for her to get off the mark.

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