Punchestown Festival Day 2 Tips: Check out the best bets for Wednesday at Punchestown

Punchestown Festival Day 2 Tips: Check out our best bets for Wednesday.
Punchestown Festival Day 2 Tips: Check out our best bets for Wednesday.

Steve Chambers takes a look at Wednesday's action at the Punchestown Festival, and you can check out his best bets for day two of the National Hunt meeting here...

A mouth-watering eight-race card takes place on day two of the Punchestown Festival, and while it's disappointing Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo won't line up in the Punchestown Gold Cup, there's still an array of top class talent lining up and we pick out our best bets for Wednesday's action.

17:20 - Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle

Three Cheltenham Festival winners do battle in a thrilling renewal of the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle, which is off at 17:20 on Wednesday and Albert Bartlett hero Vanillier will be looking to land the three-mile Cheltenham/Punchestown double and is sitting at the head of the betting. However, the Gavin Cromwell-trained raider will face a major rival in the shape of Martin Pipe winner GALOPIN DES CHAMPS, while Mares' Novices' Hurdle winner Telmesomethinggirl is another fascinating contender, and it's the former of that duo that can claim victory.

Galopin Des Champs travelled serenely through the Martin Pipe, and turning for home the Willie Mullins-trained raider was still on the bridle, as his rivals struggled, and he duly quickened up in terrific style to land a mightily impressive victory. That was in a handicap contest, so he will have to improve now sent into Grade 1 company, but he shaped like he could be a real class act and a star of the future, so is worth following here.

He steps up to three miles for this event, but he shaped like he would have no real issues going up in trip and he could just have a little more pace than his main market rival Vanillier, who may just struggle to quicken at the crucial time of the race. Another to note is Stattler, who was fourth in the Albert Bartlett, and he warrants a second look, but Galopin Des Champs is the standout pick here.

Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle
Galopin Des Champs silk

Galopin Des Champs


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Punchestown Festival Tips

17:55 - Punchestown Gold Cup

The whole complexion of this race changed on Monday with Minella Indo being ruled out of the 2021 Punchestown Gold Cup, but it has now left the door wide open for dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner AL BOUM PHOTO to claim a first Punchestown Gold Cup. The top-class chaser was unable to make it three Cheltenham Gold Cup wins on the bounce in March, as he failed to beat the aforementioned Minella Indo, but he lost very little in defeat that day, and while he could only finish third that day he heads into this event in good form.

A warm favourite for Wednesday's event, Al Boum Photo will be the primary shot fired from the Willie Mullins gun, but the master of Closutton will unleash a quartet of runners here with 2019 champion Kemboy, Easy Game and Melon lining up. The former of that triumvirate Kemboy beat Al Boum Photo in this race in 2019, so will be looking to frank that form, but he was a disappointing ninth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and it's hard to see him replicating the win from two years ago.

The biggest danger to Al Boum Photo is the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux, who makes the trip over from Britain and lines up on the back of a fine, runaway victory in the Aintree Bowl. Having bypassed the Cheltenham Gold Cup in favour of Aintree, Clan Des Obeaux lines up in excellent form, but pound-for-pound he's significantly inferior than Al Boum Photo, when both are at their best, so providing the Mullins' raider can produce his best then he should outclass his rivals and record another Grade 1 win.

Punchestown Gold Cup
Al Boum Photo silk

Al Boum Photo


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19:00 Guinness Handicap Chase

One of the most competitive betting heats of the entire Punchestown Festival takes place at 19:00 on Wednesday, as the Guinness Handicap Chase takes centre stage and the likes of emphatic Topham Chase winner Livelovelaugh and Embittered sit at the head of the betting. The latter was sent off favourite for the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival, but was a faller in the middle of that contest, so is on the comeback mission here, but warrants respect.

Livelovelaugh was hugely impressive last time out at Aintree, and is only 4lb higher here, but this is arguably a tougher contest, so he may just struggle to replicate his success from Merseyside, where he dominated from the flag fall.

The one contender that catches the eye is DUNVEGAN, who was sixth in the aforementioned Topham, but can turn that form around here, as he will enjoy a return to the traditional chase fences. He has an excellent record at Punchestown as he has won on two of his four visits to the National Hunt venue, and was last seen at the track finishing fourth in a competitive event in November. The eight-year-old grey is 2lb lower in the handicap for this contest, and with a tongue strap fitted for the first time, the Pat Fahy-trained raider can strike gold.

The likes of Annamix, Royal Rendezvous and Black Op are a trio of key players in this event, but in Dunvegan there's a solid each-way punting option, who can continue his fine form at Punchestown, and he is the one to be with.

Guinness Handicap Chase
Dunvegan silk


Punchestown Gold Cup
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