Monday 11 December 2017

WATCH - Our experts on why it's worth backing a 50/1 shot in today's Punchestown feature and the quirky Labaik

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Racing experts Niall Cronin and Johnny Ward tell you the horses to follow and those to avoid on Day One of the Punchestown festival.

Cronin feels that Un De Sceaux will fight off the English challengers Fox Norton and God's Own in the feature race, the BoyleSports Champions Chase at 5.30.

Ward told our Punchestown preview, in association with BoyleSports, that he believes 50/1 shot The Game Changer is capable of having a say at 50/1.

"It's probably one of the biggest tips I've given in terms of price. I tipped him up yesterday and Eddie O'Leary said he had no chance, so that's a negative," Ward said.

"If you look at his form last year, he'll love the ground and if they go quick up front, it might fall into his lap and he might get third."

The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle is an intriguing race in terms of the battle between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins for the trainers' title.

Labaik and Melon, the first two home in the Supreme Novice Hurdle, take each other on again, with the big question mark hanging over Elliott's grey, who doesn't always jump off.

"I never had a moment's doubt that he was going to jump off at Cheltenham. I think he will jump off, I hope he does and I think he'll win again," Cronin argued.

"There is every reason to be confident about Melon, that was only his second run over hurdles.

"BoyleSports are giving the insurance that if he doesn't jump off you get a refund as a free bet, that's a huge incentive to back him."

Cronin also tipped up Need To Know in the opener and Jessica Harrington Jetez in the bumper, that is coming in for support today.

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