Punchestown Festival day four
Frank Monkhouse | 28 April 2017
We give one in every race on Friday
The continuation of the Punchestown Festival stands as the highlight of a competitive Friday of UK and Irish horse racing, with action at the Gold Cup meeting getting started at 3.40pm with an intriguing Hunters Chase.
We have picked our winner of that race, aiming to get the day off to a flyer, and if you scroll to the bottom of this page you will find a tip in each of the eight contests. Click now to place your Friday horse racing bets, or if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, we run through our NAP and next best.
Arctic Fire to burn bright
The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is the race of the day that has everyone talking, with a dozen runners battling it out over the two-mile trip. Coral traders have Petit Mouchoir marked up as favourite in the early betting, but I plan to take the 3/1 on with something a bit livelier.
Arctic Fire, for Willie Mullins, appears to have been overlooked a touch too easily for our liking, and he’s currently available as joint-second favourite with Vroum Vroum Mag. The seven-year-old gelding has been well looked after to date and arrives with some impressive recent stats, including a win last time out at the Cheltenham Festival in March, taking a grade three County Hurdle from L’Ami Serge off a bumper SP.
Those who caught that race would’ve had him marked down as a real gutsy sort, seen plugging away at the business end to beat off his rival by the narrowest of margins. The selection knew just what was happening that day and dug deep to get the desired result. He was also spotted winning the grade one Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse near the end of 2015. If he runs up to scratch he’ll go very close here, at 9/2.
Oscar to continue his progress
Jumping straight back in with our chief support and we throw our weight behind Finian’s Oscar in the Champion Novice Hurdle. Another grade one affair, Colin Tizzard’s hope arrives unbeaten in his career so far, showing a perfect two for two.
Opening with a debut win under rules at Hereford in a novices’ hurdle, he caught the eye of everyone that day, running away from the field to win by a sizeable margin in December. That was proven to be no beginners luck when getting his head in front at Aintree last time out, winning the grade one Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree off a 3/1 SP, again with a bit to spare.
Finians Oscar has done nothing but impress so far, but there’s plenty more improving left in him, and we hope to catch a glimpse of it here, at 13/8. Traders have him picked in the betting, and we’re sure he will live up to the pre-race hype.