Today racing fans, I am going to preview the Grade 1 races running on Day 1 of the Punchestown Racing Festival Day 1. Odds will be tight here, so do consider one of the top bookie offers available and make the most of this final opportunity to roar.
Punchestown is the last Festival meeting of the National Hunt season where there are Grade 1 races featured, with all of the top NH horses on show. But I won’t be pulling any punches on Day 1, I can promise you that! I have made some selections that go against the obvious hot-pots running on the opening day and my choices are set to cause ripples.
As usual, I will be giving away a racehorse share in each preview show and there are also two £10 FREE bets up for grabs, but you must be a subscriber to my YouTube channel to be in with the chance of winning one!
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Sir Gerhard absolutely looks the one to beat based on his credentials this year. He has turned into a real superstar and is three from three this season, one of which was the Ballymore Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
He is again up against some strong opposition once again, but they have a lot to prove and some also need to improve, if they are to get close to Sir Gerhard in this race. He definitely looks the one to beat.
Chacun Pour Soi is the reigning Punchestown Champion Chaser and this time around he’s taking on his stablemate, the young pretender Energumene, who won the British version this year. However, I feel Chacun Pour Soi could take some stopping back here at Punchestown, which usually brings out the best in him. In fact, he is actually unbeaten at this track.
Although he is rated 1lb higher than his stablemate, he is three years older than Energumene, who may not have met his full potential yet. I just feel the track at Punchestown sits up well for Chacun Pour Soi and now could be the time to take a chance on him. Whatever happens, we are due another belter in the speed Chasing division, but Chacun Pour Soi gets my vote.
Fury Road is the one I’m going to take a chance on here and I think he could be ready to put up a personal best. He has always promised a lot and looked primed for a tilt at the Stayers Hurdle last year. However, his last-minute transfer to the Sneezy Foster team unsettled the horse, as well as interrupting his preparation. Ultimately, this resulted in him being pulled up at both Cheltenham and Punchestown, in very uncharacteristic fashion.
Fury Road has been campaigned over 2m 4f, or thereabouts, this season, but has shown sufficient improvement for the step up to 3 miles plus. He jumps sound enough and all three of his best efforts have come over this trip, so he could be worth another chance for sure. Fury Road is the only one in this field that I can see troubling Bob Olinger, the red-hot Favourite, who I think has too many jumping quirks to win over the extra distance.
This could potentially leave the Favourite vulnerable to a sustained late challenge and based on what Fury Road did at Leopardstown in December, I think he could be the one that serves it up in the closing stages. Not written off and deserves his day in the winner’s enclosure in my opinion.