The42's Winning Post: Everything you need to enjoy Day Three of Punchestown

We could do with a couple of winners.

Punters look on Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Three big talking points…

1. Grand Canyon: You don’t normally see too many of Willie Mullins’ multiple Grade 1 winners at double-digit prices in Cheltenham, but when Nichols Canyon powered up the hill to take the Stayers Hurdle last month, it seemed to take quite a few people by surprise.

You won’t get 10/1 on Thursday when he bids to win the Champion Stayers Hurdle (5.30pm) and make it a perfect four wins from four in Punchestown Grade 1s.

It’s a strong field of challengers with Lil Rockefeller and Unowhatimeanharry reopposing, and Sutton Place stepping up in class again after improving through the ranks in the early part of the year.

Ruby Walsh onboard Nichols Canyon celebrates winning Nichols Canyon and Ruby Walsh. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

2. D’Arc Horse: If Nichols Canyon does take the €147,500 first prize on offer in the Stayers, and claw back a huge chunk of the deficit Willie Mullins faces in the trainers’ championship, you can expect a bit more focus to fall on the only other Grade 1 of the card, the Ryanair Novice Chase (6.40pm).

With just under €68,000 up for grabs for the winner, Mullins saddles three including the likely favourite, Great Field, who has looked a class apart in lesser company this season. Jody McGarvey maintains the winning partnership, leaving Ruby Walsh to team up with Townshend and Paul Townend on Listen Dear.

Elliot’s best bet appears to lie with Ball D’Arc, who swerved both Cheltenham and Aintree, but comes here just 11 days after an impressive third to Road to Respect in Fairyhouse.

Jack Kennedy on Ball D'Arc wins the fourth race of the day Ball D'Arc in action at Fairyhouse in January. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

3. Bank on Bolger: You don’t get a reputation as the King of the Banks for no good reason but Enda Bolger’s recent record in the La Touche Cup, with just one win in the last six runnings, falls a bit short of the high standard he sets himself.

That said, it’s hard to see anything in this year’s renewal with the form to match Cantlow, although you could make a case for First Lieutenant to go well at a bigger price provided his Irish Grand National run didn’t take too much out of him.

Mark Walsh steers Quantitaveeasing over Ruby's Double for the final time to win Mark Walsh and Quantitaveeasing won the La Touche Cup for Bolger last year. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

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NAP of the day…

With Jessie Harrington’s yard in such strong form, Don’t Touch It (9/2) has the class to handle his considerable weight in the Nick Coen Memorial Handicap Chase (4.15pm).

An each-way fancy…

Noel Meade’s Snow Falcon wasn’t a million miles away from Yanworth in the Stayers Hurdle at Aintree earlier this month, and it would be no surprise to see him make the frame again at odds of 12/1.


€10 on Don’t Touch It (4.15pm), Nichols Canyon (5.30pm) and Asthuria (7.15pm) will net you €536.25.

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Niall Kelly

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