Punchestown Festival Day 5 and Newmarket Guineas Best Bets

Punchestown Festival

It’s the final day of the Punchestown Festival, a week that has certainly had its fair share of varying results.

As for yesterday, this column managed to get Brides Hill across the line, though there was a bit of bad luck through Flanking Maneuver and Lifetime Ambition.

Still, with action from Punchestown and Newmarket to look forward to, let’s dive in.


1:15 Newmarket – Heritage House @ 8/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW (3 places)

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Over in the opener at Newmarket, Heritage House gets the allowances from her elders and she has some nice two-year-old form in the book.

The three-year-old by Dark Angel is out of Global Light, a half-sister to the top sire Mehmas, and she ran in the Listed Nell Gwyn Stakes last month on her first start at seven furlongs, though she was a bit keen and had a troubled passage through the race.

The Nell Gywn looks like solid form as she stayed on behind the Guineas-bound Pretty Crystal and Dance Sequence.

Before that, she finished fourth to Romantic Style (Charlie Appleby’s Night Of Thunder three-year-old who beat Ramatuelle in the Group 3 Prix Imprudence) in the Listed Bosra Sham Fillies’ Stakes, a race that also included Adaay In Devon (rated 100) and Navassa Island.

With two bits of solid form at Newmarket and race fitness in the book, she looks likely to run a big race.


3:05 Punchestown – Neveradullmoment @ 9/1 with SkyBet (1pt EW) & Bowtogreatness @ 28/1 with Bet365 (0.5pt EW) (6 places)

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Two horses look likely to hit the frame in the second race at Punchestown, the first of which is Neveradullmoment.

He’s tried three miles once before and ran a good race but was hampered at the second-last fence, yet he still stayed on.

The step up to nearly four miles can encourage improvement, and he has form behind Intense Raffles (the Irish Grand National winner) and Where It All Began (Grand National Trial winner) from a novice chase at Fairyhouse in January.

He was also behind owner-mate Perceval Legallois on chase debut over 2m2f and he has form on ground varying from yielding to heavy.

As for Bowtogreatness, he’s a slightly sentimental bet, but Ben Pauling has made no secret in the regard that he holds him in.

Although he disappointed in the Kim Muir, the race came just 18 days after his big run in the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase which was maybe on the sharp side in hindsight.

Furthermore, although his recent form comes on decent ground, his novice hurdle form came on soft and heavy ground and there’s no reason to suggest he’ll hate any softening in the surface.

As for his mark, a rating of 130 is very lenient and Ben Pauling wouldn’t bring him to Punchestown for no reason.


4:15 Punchestown – Minella Crooner @ 25/1 with SkyBet – 1pt EW (5 places)

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Gordon Elliott’s Minella Crooner has always promised to land a big race over fences, and I’m hoping this theory occurs today.

The eight-year-old finished second in the 2022 Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival behind this year’s Bet365 Gold Cup winner Minella Cocooner.

He also split Journey With Me and Kilcruit over 2m4f in a maiden hurdle, two pieces of strong form.

Since trying his hand over fences, he nearly beat Darrens Hope on his debut over the big obstacles (in a Grade 2 novice chase) when receiving weight before beating I Am Maximus, the 2024 Grand National winner, at Fairyhouse.

As for this season, a victory over Joyeux Machin set a good tone before he was a fast-finishing third to Jungle Boogie (who was running well in the Gold Cup before a mistake at the third-last) and Classic Getaway in the Grade 3 Savills Chase on New Year’s Day.

Although his last three outings haven’t made for great reading, a return to a sharper three miles around a course he’s always done well at (won a bumper, won a maiden hurdle, and ran well twice over fences) will suit and the recent rain in the last 24 hours will cause no harm as well.

For a horse of his quality, a mark of 142 is lenient in this field.


4:50 Punchestown – Kargese @ 13/8 with Bet365 – 2pt Win

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Today is a big day for Paul Townend in his search for the jockeys’ championship, and Kargese looks like one to help him on his journey.

Although the four-year-old by Jeu St Eloi has raced at the Dublin Racing Festival, Cheltenham, and Aintree, she showed plenty of keenness on her last start which didn’t indicate any chance of her stopping.

Her form with Majborough and Sir Gino from the two big UK festivals is the best here and I came out of Aintree with serious respect for her ability.

She gets weight from the geldings, but she is a tough filly and her family tended to handle their races quite well.


5:25 Punchestown – Monbeg Park @ 11/1 with Bet365 – 1pt EW (6 places)

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Coming into this season, I fancied Monbeg Park to hit the frame at the top level in novice chases, but connections have decided to revert him to hurdles.

That’s not usually something I’m too keen on, but he didn’t jump with much fluency at Punchestown on his last start and his novice hurdling form is top quality.

He beat Spillane’s Tower (a subsequent two-time Grade 1 winner) and Uncle Phil (rated 149 over fences) at the Punchestown Festival last year and he was also second to Affordale Fury (the Albert Bartlett runner-up) on his debut over hurdles.

Having won twice around the track, my theory is connections wouldn’t bring him back this season if he wasn’t spot on because he has had well-documented joint issues in the past.

Therefore, with a lenient mark of 135, I hope he can outrun his odds.

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