Punchestown Festival: Alpha Des Obeaux holds all the aces in Stayers Hurdle
David Metcalf | April 27, 2016
Alpha Des Obeaux to triumph in Champion Stayers Hurdle
Alpha Des Obeaux posted a career-best effort last time out when runner-up to the brilliant Thistlecrack, and can go one better now his racing rival misses out to land the Grade 1 World Series Champion Stayers Hurdle on day three of the Punchestown Festival (17:30).
Mouse Morris trained gelding Alpha Des Obeaux went down by seven lengths to Colin Tizzard’s charge in the World Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival but lost little in defeat.
Although in the end no match for the eased down winner, Alpha Des Obeaux was the only one to try and make a race of it with the superstar stayer.
The six-year-old duelled for the lead at the second last with Thistlecrack and held every chance rounding the home turn.
Festival form rock solid
It was at that point that jockey Tom Scudamore pushed the button on Thistlecrack and Alpha Des Obeaux had no response to the devastating turn of foot shown.
However, the selection did stick to the task well and the pair pulled 22 lengths clear of the field to give the form a rock solid look.
Thistlecrack has since gone on to score in scintillating fashion at Aintree, and Alpha Des Obeaux meets nothing of his calibre in this line-up.
Connections also decided to bypass Aintree to keep Alpha Des Obeaux fresh for this, and a repeat of his Cheltenham Festival run should be more than good enough to land the spoils.
Improving Diamond King merits respect
Shaneshill did as well as could be expected when second to Thistlecrack at Aintree, but comes into the race on the back of two gruelling efforts and that has already proved the downfall of some big names at this end of season Punchestown meeting.
For that reason, and should Alpha Des Obeaux fail to live up to expectations, Diamond King could be the one to take advantage.
The Gordon Elliott trained eight-year-old has won four of his nine starts over hurdles and shown progressive form this season.
After scoring in good style by 3 3/4 lengths from Jennies Jewel over 2m 4f at this venue, Diamond King posted a career-best effort last time out when landing the ultra-competitive 26-runner Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival by a cosy 1 1/4 lengths.
The latter was a most taking performance and, although this represents a big step up in class, Diamond King is on a serious upward curve and looks one to keep onside.
You’ll find more Punchestown Festival betting tips and race previews on our dedicated page.
Coral’s top tip: Alpha Des Obeax has the strongest form in the book and rates a solid bet. The rapidly improving Diamond King can chase him home.