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Ginger Joe - Punchestown Festival 2024 - Betting Tips for Day 1

Publish Date: 30/04/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Betting tips for Tuesday’s Graded races at Punchestown
  • Punchestown previews coming all week long
  • BritainBet with a £50 free bet offer for new customers

Day 1 of the Punchestown Festival gets underway

It’s time for the 2024 Punchestown Festival, which brings us five days of brilliant Jumps racing. There are plenty of Handicaps this week but I’m going to focus on the Graded action, as we close out the season in style. On Day 1 we have three Graded races, with lineups that include two Cheltenham Festival winners, so we are in for a treat.

The first Graded race of the week is for the Novice Hurdlers’ where Slade Steel and Mystical Power go head to head and we’ll find out if Slade Steel can confirm himself as the best two mile Novice Hurdler of the season. Then we have the Champion Chase where Captain Guinness seeks the Cheltenham/Punchestown double, but he is going to need to break a trend and win back-to-back for the first time if he is to do the double.

Dinoblue drops back in trip and she could go close with the mares’ allowance in what looks set to be a superb race. Then finally we have the staying Novice Chasers’ and this is quite an open contest with no Cheltenham stars in the line up, but I have quite a strong fancy in this race nonetheless.

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15:40 - The Champion Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 6f - Slade Steel

The first Grade 1 race of the Punchestown Festival is the Champion Novices’ Hurdle over 2m 1/2f. The current favourite is the ultra-solid and consistent Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Slade Steel who looks unbeatable if he turns up in the same form as he did for his run at Cheltenham. He was really powerful all the way up the Cheltenham Hill, and even with a slight error at the last, he was able to find top gear again to win. He is a proper smart horse and the worthy favourite for this race.

Next up we have Mystical Power, who finished second to Slade Steel at Cheltenham, but did beat Firefox to win a Grade 1 at Aintree. He is a lovely traveller and his jumping is sound enough too. It would be no surprise if he was to improve even more here, and I don’t expect to see him too far away at the finish. Tullyhill was disappointing at Cheltenham and even though I don't rate his chances myself, he will probably prefer the Punchestown course and I expect to see better of him this time around.

I am interested in Firefox to a degree, assuming he turns up, but the fact that he is currently priced at 9/1 makes me question that a little bit. He isn't quite the finished article and I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet, so he deserves to be ahead of Tullyhill in my opinion. I don't fancy any of the others to win, but if Asian Master runs, then I may take a piece each way. I was listening to a Mullins interview the other day and he is so excited about this lad for when he goes over fences. That alone makes you think he must have a bigger engine than we have seen so far.

GJ Verdict - Slade Steel

17:25 - The Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2m 1/2f - Gentleman De Mee

This year’s renewal of the Champion Chase has a really strong lineup. Captain Guinness won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and he is trying to do the Cheltenham/Punchestown double, so he has every chance with a repeat performance. Conditions are absolutely fine for him and I have always backed his corner, but I am worried about the fact he has never managed two wins back-to-back.

Dinoblue is a mare that I've never really fallen in love with, but she did run a big race to finish second to Limerick Lace at Cheltenham over 2m 4f and I expect her to be much more at home here over the two mile trip, where she is far more effective. In fact, I’ve been saying that for a while, so perhaps now is her time to shine. Banbridge is a horse that’s not totally ground dependent, but I think he will need perfect conditions to beat this bunch and this won't be ideal for him in my opinion.

So now we come to the dark horse in the race, which is Gentlemen De Mee. He is a dual Grade 1 winner over this trip and has a big run in him. He placed second to Captain Guinness at Cheltenham last month, which was a much improved run, so he could just be coming to boil - which makes him a major player here. He hasn't won at Punchestown, but he was only 10 lengths back of Energumene when he was here last and looks in much better nick now. He ticks all the boxes this week and Paul Townend will ride him, which has to be a big plus point, so I’m giving Gentleman De Mee the nod here.

GJ Verdict - Gentleman De Mee

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18:00 - The Champion Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f - Spillane’s Tower

This year’s Champion Novices’ Chase, over the extended three miles, is going to be a cracker. One of my favourite horses is in the lineup which is Monty's Star. He finished second to Fact To File at the Cheltenham Festival, but only went down by just over three lengths and that form line is very strong indeed, so he deserves to be favourite here. He is a seriously good jumper of a fence and I think he will turn into an even better Chaser next season, so I’ll be following his progress closely. of the way. He is a fantastic horse to look at, and he stays very well, but I have a sneaky suspicion he may find one too good in this race..

I think the one that is the biggest danger is Spillane's Tower who has already improved plenty this season and still looks to be very much on an upward curve. He is a year younger than Monty's Star, but both are rated 150. Although I think Monty's Star will be the best of these two in time, as of right now, Spillane’s Tower finishes really strongly, and if he is played late off the pace, he could take a lot of beating here. His two most recent wins came over 2m 4f, but he looks well worth a go up in trip.

Sharjah, who is ridiculously priced at 33/1, has to be given a mention and he looks in great form, especially after winning at Ayr last weekend. I don't know if the plan is to run him here or not, but if goes, he’s surely worth a small each way punt. Meanwhile, Embassy Gardens is likely to go off in front, but may not have enough at the finish, with most of his form coming over a shorter trip. American Mike is always an intriguing runner wherever he lines up, but not entirely trustworthy enough for my tastes. So, my money is on Spillane's Towerfor this one..

GJ Verdict - Spillane's Tower

Betting tips for Day 1 at Punchestown

15:40 - Slade Steel
17:25 - Gentleman De Mee
18:00 - Spillane’s Tower

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