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The42's Winning Post: Everything you need to enjoy the final day of Punchestown

It’s all coming down to the wire at Punchestown this afternoon. Any winners?

A view of the field during the race Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Three big talking points…

1. Training Day: And so the trainers’ championship comes down to the final day of the national hunt season. Patrick Mullins’ brilliant hat-trick on Friday — including a Grade 1 double with Wicklow Brave and Bacardys — edged dad Willie into a €91,000 lead over rival Gordon Elliott.

The battle is likely to hinge on the Mares Champion Hurdle (3.50pm) where Mullins saddles four, including Karalee and Augusta Kate, but Elliott holds the strong hand with odds-on favourite Apple’s Jade; and the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle, which could turn into a straight shootout between Mullins’ Bapaume and Elliott’s Mega Fortune.

It ain’t over till it’s over…

2. The Numbers Game: If the trainers’ title is still in the balance at 5.35pm, the 25-runner Ballymore Handicap Hurdle, run over two-and-a-half miles and worth €59,000 to the winner, might get a bit more attention than otherwise.

Mullins goes for the blanket approach, sending no fewer than eight (with one reserve also declared), while Elliott has five in the mix. Diakali and Thomas Hobson look to be among Mullins’ strongest chances, while on the basis of jockey bookings alone, you’d have to take notice of Bonbon Au Miel in the hands Ruby Walsh. Bryan Cooper and Automated, and Jack Kennedy and Carraig Cathal, might well be Elliott’s best bets.

3. Winging It: The Three.ie Handicap Chase, run over 3m6f over the cross-country course, will be a real test of stamina as well as jumping ability. Bless the Wings is very much the elder statesman of the sphere but back-to-back second-place finishes in the Irish Grand National is form that will see him towards the head of the market, while the Tony Martin-trained White Arm and Nole Meade’s Tulsa Jack could lead the challenge from the young pretenders.

NAP of the day…

APPLE’S JADE (5/6) has been given plenty of rest since her stunning Cheltenham win and, on the ratings, is eight pound better than anything else in the field for the Mares Champion Hurdle (3.50pm). Karalee, the mount of Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins, could be anything.

An each-way fancy…

Tulsa Jack has the form in the book to go close in the 3m6f Handicap Chase (3.10pm), but of those at bigger prices, top weight RAZ DE MAREE (16/1) can show that he’s better than his recent disappointments in the Aintree and Irish Grand Nationals suggest.

Accumulator…

€10 on Tulsa Jack (3.10), Apple’s Jade (3.50) and Mega Fortune (4.25) will net you around €545… provided they all win, that is.

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This one’s for you, Dad! Patrick treble gives Willie Mullins edge in trainers’ fight

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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