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27th May 2024 4:52 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Punchestown Day 1

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

I am always caught unawares by the arrival of May and the vast voids of public holidays and people doing zip that it brings. Any interrogation of any service, engineer, tradesman, driver, cleaner, stone waller, thatcher, or bottle washer comes with a sharp intake of breath as though one has just made an accidental pass at their mother. Then comes a long, drawn-out explanation that because there is a bank holiday on Monday, the traffic is terrible on Friday, so that’s when they’re doing their paperwork, making it a three-day week. Then they had promised to take the kiddies to Cannes and “…I know it’s naughty, but we all do it, right?” they’re keeping them out of school for a couple of days, not coming back until Wednesday, which means they can fit you in next September.

I am increasingly sympathetic to the old Soviet handling of this relentless lack of effort. Being extremely firm with, say, one in ten (along Pour Encourager Les Autres lines) may see people thinking work is the best option.

On the subject of work, maybe there would be some merit in having every illegal dinghy deposit its load at the Dungeness Immigrant Work Battalion’s HQ for assignment to pothole mending, drain fixing, and Thames Water management —how could they be worse? After three years, you get residency and, after five years, a passport. For those of you who think I am being a bit tough, I am merely suggesting that in the spirit of European cordiality, we follow French guidelines and utilise the management principles embodied in the Legion Etrangere. “French by blood spilt.”

Talking of a nation that wants a frictionless border and is totally at ease with the Christian concept of Mi Casa e su Casa, it’s Ireland’s Punchestown Festival, which used to be one of my favourite events. Then they became European, frightfully grown-up, and a little bit greedy and turned it into just another good-quality race meeting. In those days, you could find yourself discussing the night before with Luke Harvey over a pint of Guinness at ten in the morning, and the gates not even open. Don’t ask.

2:30 Kildare Hunt Club Cross Country Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup (5yo+) 3m½f 16 run

THREE BY TWO 3 pts Win – ALBAQUIRKY 2 pts e/w

3:05 Full Circle Series Final Hcap Hdl (4yo+) 2m3½f 24 run

Tom Lacey brings over the favourite MONTREGARD for JP, and he retains the CPs, which improved him so much, LTO on testing ground. If he handles this faster ground, he’s a worthy favourite, as he is an improving sort. AL KALILA was 1½l 3rd behind MONTREGARD LTO and seems far too big a price, given he’s got a 3lb pull this time around.
BILLY LEE SWAGGER won here over 2½m in December and has improved on both races since. He was a ¾l 2nd to MOUSEY BROWN at Down Royal LTO and is another capable of reversing his form given the weight he now gets. PADDY’S MILESTONE was 4th in that race 7¾l behind but that result could almost certainly have been better had it not been for getting badly hampered three out. THE LOVELY MAN looks too big a price for one whose breeding suggests he’ll be better on faster ground.

PADDY’S MILESTONE 5 pts win – AL KALILA 3 pts e/w – THE LOVELY MAN 1½ pts e/w

3:40 KPMG Champion Novice Hdl (G1) (5yo+) 2m½f 9 run

The Supreme 1-2, SLADE STEEL and MYSTICAL POWER, return for another go. The latter went in at Aintree LTO, and this drying ground might help him reverse placings with SLADE STEEL. FIREFOX, who was third in the Supreme and runner-up to MYSTICAL POWER at Aintree, is also among the nine declared runners. As is C&D winner TULLYHILL a disappointing favourite in the Supreme but who is still ridden by Paul Townend.

TULLYHILL 4 pts e/w 

4:15 Killashee Hotel Hcap Hdl (Listed Race) (4yo+) 2m½f 25 run

DADDY LONG LEGS won at Ludlow six days ago and was part of Willie’s pot-hunting team. He’s probably still got something in hand of the handicapper, and Willie has won this race three times since 2018. BIALYSTOK won this from 10lb lower last year, and whilst he was hugely disappointing at Cheltenham, he seemed more like his old self when coming ½l second in the Scottish National LTO. KINGS HILL was 15 ½l 9th in the Supreme which was about right, and he went close on his handicap debut LTO getting 4lb for his troubles. There is something about him which is possibly worth a shot. Gordon Elliott has almost 30% of the runners in the race, and of his seven, the two I fancy most are SAMUI and GLAN. The latter has cracking form figures on the ground (12R – 4W – 7P with good in the going description), and SAMUI has been performing usefully at a decent level. SO SCOTTISH was well fancied for the County Hurdle, you might remember, but had no pace to go with. Faster ground and first-time CPs mean you might want to have a pop.

SO SCOTTISH 3 pts Win – KINGS HILL 3 pts e/w – SAMUI 2 pts e/w – GLAN 1 pt e/w

4:50 Goffs Defender Bumper (4yo) 2m½f 24 run


5:25 William Hill Champion Chase (G1) (5yo+) 2m½f 9 run

If it rains, then its DINIOBLUE Wins – to beat BANBRIDGE. If it stays dry then it’s the other way around. The bet is it stays dry.

BANBRIDGE 5 pts Win – 2pt SFC to beat DINOBLUEFIL D’OR 2 pts e/w

6:00 Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (G1) (5yo+) 3m1f 8 run

MONTY’S STAR heads the market and this only his fourth chasing start, so the guess is that he is still unexposed and has more to offer. SPILLANE’S TOWER could well flip-flop as a favourite, and he is stepping up in trip, which the market suggests will see improvement. He has some speedy form over 2m and might also try to steal an early lead on this drying ground. However, I feel – or so the whispers go – that EMBASSY GARDENS has a big run in him. Some of us are expecting a surprise.


6:35 Haier INH Flat Race (4yo) 2m½f 19 run



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David Cameron
25 days ago

2:30 THREE BY TWO 3 pts Win 4th 4/1 -3 – ALBAQUIRKY 2 pts e/w 9th 14/1 -4 = -7 Tot:-7
3:05 PADDY’S MILESTONE 5 pts win 11th 17/2 -5 – AL KALILA 3 pts e/w 7th 14/1 -6 – THE LOVELY MAN 1½ pts e/w 15th 18/1 -3 = -14 Tot: -21
3:40 TULLYHILL 4 pts e/w PU 7/1 -8 Tot: -29
4:15 SO SCOTTISH 3 pts Win 14th 14/1 -3 – KINGS HILL 3 pts e/w 4th 14/1 -6 – SAMUI 2 pts e/w 10th 25/1 -4 – GLAN 1 pt e/w 20th 50/1 -2 = -44
4:50 NO BET Tot: -44
5:25 BANBRIDGE 5 pts Win Win 6/1 +30 – 2pt SFC to beat DINOBLUE 3rd -2 – FIL D’OR 2 pts e/w PU 20/1 -4 = +24 Tot: -20
6:00 EMBASSY GARDENS 7 pts Win PU 7/2 -7 Tot: -27
6:35 COLCANNON 3 pts Win 2nd 100/30 -3 Tot: -30

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