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27th May 2024 3:19 am

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

Punchestown Day 3

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

It’s a terribly busy week, so straight in and on. I have popped the dismal results under each post. I shall surely hit form soon! I had started to write about dinner last night, but it was so ghastly, and one or two of the crowd were so deeply sanctimonious, ill-informed and self-opinionated in the worst sense (Mrs Bouquet telling the Maitre D’ how a Panzerella salad – which wasn’t on the menu, wasn’t available and which she hadn’t had pronounced correctly, should be made), that I had to stop. It culminated with one of this crowd being rudely dismissive of The Hon. In 16th century feudal Japan, someone would have slipped her a small sharp dagger and told her to get on with it.

As an aside, Panzanella salad is simply a tomato salad with other salad ingredients bulked by stale bread torn or diced. The bread is then soaked in juices and salad dressing and then squeezed out, or toasted, and then added to the salad bowl. It can also be fried off in garlic and olive oil as croutons or even oven-baked, having been drizzled with oil. Whatever you decide, the bread is then incorporated with cucumbers, chopped large salad onions or diced sweet red onions, and very, very ripe diced tomatoes (for which you will need a very sharp knife), that you bought or grew because they tasted tomatoey. Then you add fresh basil, oregano, and bits – like black olives, anchovies, and even hard-boiled eggs. I’ve had it with Quails’ eggs shelled and dotted about the salad. Whether you do or you don’t is up to you. The key, however, is a red wine vinegar dressing that incorporates every drop of juice from when you diced the tomatoes. There is no lettuce – but I’ve had it with curly endive – there is no parmesan, although I have seen it used… and that is the point. It is a simple recipe to use up stuff, which isn’t coping with the Tuscan countryside’s heat and doesn’t waste food. It is full of flavour, olive oil and tomatoes, and the tang of sharp vinegar and the softness or crunch – it’s your salad, you decide – of the stale bread, which you might otherwise have had to eat by simply dunking it in olive oil, garlic and vinegar with some Prosciutto Crudo ham and a glass of the chilled Sicilian 2019 Occhipinti, Il Frapatto.

Meanwhile, I was right about GALOPIN and about HEWICK, and I made an overall profit at Ascot, but the rest was dismal. It’s too soon for Seppuku – but we need a big winner soon.

15:40 Specialist Group Handicap Hurdle (88-123) 4YO plus, 25 run, 2m 94

HOLLY won easily at Market Rasen in January off 114 but was disappointing at Plumpton off 123 in a stronger race. However, she was eye-catching at Haydock LTO, off a 1lb lower, running Brentford Hope to ½l. That horse was a 5l 2nd to Daddy Long Legs on Tuesday, and with a useful 7lb claimer she must have solid e/w claims. UNDENIABLE ALIBI is 313 over fences from 3 runs and has a point-to-point victory on good to yielding, so the ground is fine. Neither I nor the market can split them

HOLLY – UNDENIABLE ALIBI 9 pts dutch – 1 pt RFC

16:15 Frontline Security Handicap Chase 4YO plus, 17 run, C1, 2m 55y

ENNISKERRY doesn’t have many miles on the clock for a ten-year-old, but those miles have been pretty decent, with two wins from four starts, one PU, and a respectable performance over an unsuitable trip when last seen in a G3. Given the 274-day absence and his lack of mileage, a few risks are involved, but that’s factored into the price, and the trainer is no mug.

ENISKERRY 3 pts e/w

The La Touche Cup

16:50 Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase 5YO plus, 14 run, 4m 1f 11y

BIRCHDALE is going up in distance, which should suit. The selection was third at Leopardstown back in March. It has had a decent break since then and should be good fresh. He’s won here before and 6/1 looks decent – and he’s trained by the great man.


17:25 Barberstown Castle Novice Chase (G1) 5YO plus, 4 run, C1, 2m 75y

GAELIC WARRIOR should win – shy of a catastrophe.

No Bet

18:00 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (G1) 4YO plus, 11 run, C1, 2m 7f 110y

TEAHUPTOO is the best horse in the race, but I wonder whether—like Galopin des Champs—this isn’t a seasonal race too far. It’s possible he doesn’t like the track, but the fact is that Teahupoo has yet to win at Punchestown. He finished last of six behind Honeysuckle on his first visit and was fourth in this race last year, beaten three lengths. He looks like an improved horse since then, and none of his rivals have serious claims here. So, if something is wrong, where might we have some chance? Taking advantage of any flaw in my book could be LANTRY LADY, who was 4th behind Lossiemouth in The Mares and, I suspect, is progressive. The ground is a concern – but she is being backed as if that isn’t a consideration so get on now

LANTRY LADY 3 pts e/w

18:35 Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle 4YO plus, 25 run, C1, 2m 7f 110y

COMING UP EASY makes his handicap debut off what might be a generous mark. He’s had three runs over hurdles, with a seventh to Stellar Story beaten just over eighteen lengths in his first; he fell when tracking leaders behind Ballyburn in his second and won a maiden at Limerick by twenty lengths three weeks ago. BEACHCOMBER is trained by Jonjo O’Neill and has won 2 of 6 hurdles starts and a bumper. Two comfortable wins from the last three outings and not overly stretched by the handicapper on a mark of 125 here. He comes here after a rest, possibly to protect his handicap mark, and has won back from a similar break in the past. Good UK form over this trip. He is being backed. With six places generally available, I’m lunging at this.

COMING UP EASY 4 pts e/w – BEACHCOMBER 3 pts e/w

19:05 Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle 4YO plus, 16 run, C1, 2m 94y

SPINDLEBERRY was just beaten in G1 here at the end of March, following a win in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse in January. She should handle the drop back to 2 miles and is a worthy favourite. There is some merit is MOLLYS MANGO from Harry Derham’s yard, and this former Fat Gordy charge was bought by current connections for £170k. He hated the slow pace LTO in the G2 Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ at Cheltenham, and with four places, it offers some value.


19:40 JP & M Doyle (C & G) Bumper 4-7yo, 10 run, 2m 94y

PORT JOULAIN Cost Rich Ricci £300k and easily won LTO. It looks sure to improve quite apart from looking like a decent long-term prospect with that dominant performance.




4 x 2 pt Trebles  – 1 x 1 pt 4 fold


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