Wednesday 17 January 2018

Thief and Disko to show Punchestown swagger

Jockey David Mullins. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jockey David Mullins. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Cheltenham's fixture yesterday signalled the return of National Hunt combat and Punchestown's compelling card today will have jumps fans licking their lips.

Trainers other than the champion will be keen to make some inroads too as Willie Mullins has no horses declared.

Identity Thief is the star attraction in the Download The BETDAQ App Beginners Steeplechase. Put up in this paper recently as a good bet for the Racing Post Arkle at 20/1, his odds may contract significantly if he impresses on this, his much-awaited chase bow.

With the same connections' useful Attribution declared, it will offer a genuine test for Identity Thief, which won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle 11 months ago. David Mullins will be thrilled to have the chance to steer him, with Bryan Cooper out injured.

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Gigginstown can dominate and the same can be said ahead of the BETDAQ.COM €25 In Free Bets Beginners Steeplechase. Noel Meade has high hopes for the flashy grey, Disko, which should make a winning chase debut.

Though he ran poorly when last witnessed at the Punchestown festival, the son of Martaline - a stallion with which Meade has had plenty of luck - looked superb previously when landing a Naas maiden hurdle by 29 lengths.

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Catalaunian Fields makes his first start for Mouse Morris and looks up to winning such a race in due course.

JP McManus also runs some nice prospects. Stretchingthetruth has a big future if his bumper win is any indication and he should collect in the opening maiden hurdle.

The green and gold colours can also be seen in a winning manner in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle as Stand Up And Fight, such an eye-taking second on his debut at Navan, can go one better if the betting signals are favourable.

Tom Gibney can strike in the finale with Agent Boru. This useful five-year-old is narrowly preferred to Gigginstown's Bel Ami De Sivola, Patrick Mullins having a rare ride for Noel Meade.

Irish Independent

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