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Gary O’Brien: 4 picks for Thursday’s Punchestown action

01 May | BY Gary O’Brien | MIN READ TIME |
Gary O’Brien: 4 picks for Thursday’s Punchestown action

The horse racing broadcaster makes his selections for the third day of the Punchestown Festival, including a veteran in the Champion Stayers Hurdle.

15:40

British-trained runners performed very well in the handicaps on the opening day and HOLLY / could be another one for the visitors. A first runner for the new partnership of Jonjo and AJ O’Neill, the mare comes into this on the back of an apparently unlucky defeat at Haydock at the end of March where a stumble after the final flight almost certainly cost her victory. Her conqueror there Brentford Hope was a clear second best when finding only handicap blot Daddy Long Legs too strong here on Wednesday and a 2lb rise (capable conditional Peter Smithers takes off a further 7lb) will hardly stop Holly going one better. The same owner’s Nara is another interesting contender after her creditable seventh at Cheltenham.

16:15

Willie Mullins holds a very strong hand here, with the top three in the weights in particular all viable candidates, but ENNISKERRY / is worth chancing to overcome the Closutton battalions. Very lightly raced for his age, Barry Connell’s charge is having his first start since finishing an honourable seventh in last year’s Galway Plate. The 2m6f there almost certainly caught him out after travelling well for a long way, while he showed he can go well fresh when hacking up in a flat maiden at Leopardstown prior to that effort.

18:00

If Teahupoo reproduces his Cheltenham effort he should win this but it’s worth bearing in mind he under-performed here in 2023, and after a light campaign SIRE DU BERLAIS / makes a bit of appeal both each-way and without the favourite. A never-nearer fifth behind his stable-companion in his attempt to win the Stayers for a second time, he was denied a repeat bid for the Aintree Grade 1 on veterinary advice but that may prove to be a blessing in disguise as far as today’s assignment is concerned. He had Teahupoo 2 1/4 lengths behind when a close third to Klassical Dream last year.

19:05

Spindleberry’s second to stable-mate Jade De Grugy in a Fairyhouse Grade 1 is the best form on offer in this mares event but another Mullins representative who could have a major say is IMPLICIT / . The Authorized mare did very well to overcome a well-handicapped rival at Fairyhouse over Easter and there could be even more to come on Thursday’s better ground.

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Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.

Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.