It's Day 2 of the Punchestown Festival – and these are the 3 races you don’t want to miss

We have three more Grade 1s to get stuck into in Naas this afternoon.

Very Wood ridden by Paul Carberry (Right) on the way to victory Can Very Wood follow up on his Cheltenham success for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown team? Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

4.55pm: Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle

Staying novices don’t quite get the same love as their two-mile counterparts but there are a couple of intriguing chances to watch in the first Grade 1 of the day.

Nicky Henderson will hope to steal this one for England as he sends Beat That, an impressive winner at Aintree earlier this month, to take on some of Ireland’s rising three-milers.

Willie Mullins sends out one of his Cheltenham winners, Don Poli, in the hope of following up on his win in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. Ruby Walsh takes the ride on the yard’s only runner.

Anyone who backed Very Wood will never forget his shock 40/1 in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle last month, and you can’t discount Apache Jack — third that day after impressing all season — who is ridden by AP McCoy.

Lord Windermere ridden by Davy Russell beats On his Own ridden by David Casye to win On His Own, left, couldn't have been closer in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

5.30pm: Bibby’s Punchestown Gold Cup

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windemere has been given the rest of the season off so it is left to a handful of his rivals to take up the mantle.

The horse he narrowly pipped that day, On His Own, looks likely to go off as favourite although the market might well be swayed by Ruby’s decision to go for the other Mullins runner, Boston Bob, instead.

First Lieutenant was a late withdrawal from the Gold Cup and then looked a little flat when fourth to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl and Aintree, but he should come on for that run.

Grand National faller (and former Gold Cup winner) Long Run, Lyreen Legend and Argocat are the other main players.

Silver Concorde ridden by Robbie McNamara wins the Weatherbys Champion Bumper Champion Bumper winner Silver Concorde looks like to go off favourite in the 6:05. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

6.05pm: Champion Bumper

This year’s renewal has attracted the bulk of Ireland’s top bumper runners including Dermot Weld’s Cheltenham winner Silver Concorde and the Willie Mullins trio of Shaneshill, Black Hercules and Killultagh Vic — all of whom finished in the top six that.

If the winner doesn’t come from those four, consider it something of a shock.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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