Punchestown Festival Day 3 | The King of Punchestown

Punchestown Festival

Day 3 of the Punchestown Festival is upon us, and yesterday was a similar story to the previous day.

The current form certainly doesn’t read well, but the good run of High Class Hero offers some encouragement that not everything I touch is performing horrendously.

So, let’s see if a change in fortune can occur.


6:00 Punchestown – Buddy One @ 9/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

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Buddy One has done me proud this season with two valiant efforts at Cheltenham and Aintree, though a few may question how ready he’ll be for Punchestown after those two hard races.

Admittedly, this is a worry, but he had a long break prior to Cheltenham and trainer Paul Gilligan believes he’s a better horse on a sounder surface, something he’s likely to get.

Furthermore, a look through his form book shows how well he comes out of his races. For example, he had five races between January 28th 2023 and April 14th 2023 (76 days).

He’s a solid horse and I think Jack Gilligan kicked for home a little too early at Aintree which resulted in his four-length defeat.

If a few ahead of him in the market disappoint, he’s a likely type to pounce on that.


6:35 Punchestown – Kilbeg King @ 12/1 with Bet365 & Will Do @ 33/1 with Paddy Power (6 places) – 1pt EW for both

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Anthony Honeyball won this race last year with Kilbeg King and the Doyen gelding is returning for another go off an 8lb higher mark.

Despite that rise, he deserves the hike based on his win in this race last year. His performances over fences this season also offer encouragement as his third to Il Est Francais in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and second to Henry’s Friend in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase are good pieces of form.

Despite his lackluster performance in handicap company last time out, his jumping let him down over fences, so returning to hurdles will help him massively.

As for Will Do, he’s a horse I backed at Fairyhouse on his last start but to no avail, though a mark of 126 makes him dangerously well-handicapped.

Danny Gilligan takes over from Carl Millar, so the seven-year-old by Walk In The Park still will benefit from an extra five pounds off his back.

Something that is different from his last run is the conditions as Thursday’s better ground is a stark difference to the heavy surface he dealt with in March.

From his bumper days, he showed strong form with Monbeg Park, Fact To File, Western Diego, Tullyhill, and Answer To Kayf, but he was always going to improve for three miles.

Looking back to his last win at Thurles in November, he gave weight away to beat some nice types in Moon D’Orange and Getaway Charlie on what was yielding to soft ground.

One could argue that he’s a horse who prefers better ground – Gordon Elliott pulling him out of a handicap hurdle at Naas in February due to unsuitable ground would back this up – and his form on right-handed tracks is promising.

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