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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020

3 top bets to consider for Friday's racing at Punchestown

Thom Malone reveals his picks for the Kildare course, where the Champion Hurdle is today’s feature.

Apples Jade and Jack Kennedy at Leopardstown earlier this year.
Apples Jade and Jack Kennedy at Leopardstown earlier this year.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

BETWAY’S HEED YOUR Hunch is here to provide you with three top tips at the Punchestown Festival

The roll of honour for the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (5.30pm) is a who’s who of hurdling royalty with Istabraq, Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace, Faugheen and Hurricane Fly among the previous winners.

The race is the feature event of Friday’s card.

Supasundae is a relatively unheralded champion, Melon and Samcro both came down when he obliged last year.

The strength-in-depth of this year’s renewal is questionable. There is also not much obvious early pace.

As a track, Punchestown can favour those who like to race prominently, as seen with Un de Sceaux and Faugheen last year. Apples Jade has lost her way a little in spring but back to two miles with less obvious pace there is a chance Gordon Elliot’s star mare could return to near her best.

Apples Jade (17.30 Punchestown – 11/4) has repeatedly beaten Supasundae this season and Buveur D’Air looks a little short in the market. With the helicopters circling the racecourse, hopefully Apples Jade is back in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

Mark Walsh on City Island wins the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle ahead of Barry Geraghty on Champ City Island and Mark Walsh jumping ahead of Barry Geraghty on board Champ at Cheltenham. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

City Island (18.05 Punchestown – 11/8) can continue the theme of the good times returning. Sean Mulryan’s Cheltenham winner will be a warm order for the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) at 6.05pm, and deservedly so. This horse was very quietly but confidently campaigned before his win at the Cheltenham Festival and given the owner’s association with the locality, a similar result on drying ground can be expected.

With the sun continuing to shine, the course is likely to continue to dry out. So look out for the horse that will want better ground later in the week. Slowmotion (16.55 Punchestown – 11/1) was given a tricky task when last seen behind Camelia de Cotte at Fairyhouse.

She has been set a less-testing task in the EBF Mares Handicap Steeplechase (4.55pm). Joseph O’Brien’s charge has good form and wasn’t beaten far in the 2017 Galway Plate.

Off a mark of 138 she will definitely be competitive and is a nice each-way bet now she has been set a more realistic challenge than her last outing.

Get your money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second in a race with 6+ runners at the Punchestown Festival thanks to Betway’s Money Back Special. You can also win a prize of £25k each day of the festival on Betway’s Insider Blog with 4 To Win, a free-to-play prediction game. Offer as above. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more, see Dunlewey.net

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