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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021

Back Abacadabras each-way to work his magic in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Johnny Ward previews Friday’s feature race at the Punchestown Festival.

AFTER ITS POSTPONEMENT 12 months ago, the Punchestown Festival has made a welcome return to the racing calendar this week. 

Each day, racing journalist Johnny Ward has been bringing you a preview of the feature race and his best tip — along with William Hill’s latest prices.

Here are his thoughts on Friday’s main event… 

jack-kennedy-on-abacadabras-wins Jack Kennedy and Abacadabras winning the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Champion Hurdle, 5.25pm Friday (live on RTÉ2)

Friday’s Champion Hurdle (5.25) should see Honeysuckle confirm her status as the dominant two-mile hurdler of the season but punters have to decide whether or not to play at what is not exactly the working person’s price.

William Hill goes 4/6 the brilliant daughter of Sulamani, who, incredibly, hasn’t been beaten yet. Surprisingly, she is making her first-ever start at Punchestown, though it is hard to see how it will be an issue for her.

Goshen bids to provide the British with another big-race winner this week and he should leave his Cheltenham form behind now that he reverts to a right-handed track. More pertinently, he will add some pace to the race, with Aspire Tower and Jason The Militant, stablemates of the favourite, likely to be ridden pretty forward too.

Cheltenham third Epatante is certainly not without a chance and she comes here pretty fresh, whereas Abacadabras togs out for the third time in recent weeks, a rare example of a horse running in Grade 1s at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown. He looks the value at 11/1 with Hills.

If you back Abacadabras each-way and he places, you get a 50% return on your investment, which is not much less than what you would get by backing Honesuckle to win — providing she does win.

Abacadabras fell at Cheltenham but he was brilliant at Aintree, getting to the front too soon according to jockey Jack Kennedy, but still getting the job done.

He has a really good Punchestown record, winning the Morgiana earlier in the campaign and finishing second in a bumper to Colreevy, but neither of those tests were anywhere near as ideal as this one, which is what he wants: a strongly-run two-mile race on decent ground. It looks like it will be set up for a closer.

Johnny’s tip: 

Abacadabras 1pt each-way @ 11/1

Odds above correct at the time of writing. For all the latest prices, visit 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see 

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