There’s some high-class racing to look forward to on Sunday, with Grade 1 action from Punchestown and Grade 2 action from both Cork and Huntingdon. We’ve a free tip for the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, as well as free tips for the Hilly Way Chase and the Edredon Bleu Chase.
Great Field hadn’t run for 11 months when he was last seen in March, so nine months off the track shouldn’t be a hinderance. His front-running style also gets his rivals at it and he should be able to dominate the ageing Special Tiara who wasn’t at his best last season and is now 11 going on 12. In his last race at Navan, he also gave Doctor Phoenix 4lb and an eased-down 1¾-lengths beating and is 1lb better off here. Meanwhile, he should simply have too much toe for the likes of A Toil Phil and the top-rated Anibale Fly, who placed in the Gold Cup and the Grand National last season.
Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase Free Tip:
Great Field @ 1.67 William Hill
The John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase has been won by some great horses over the last few years including the likes of Gold Cup winner Don Cossack and Sizing John, whilst Arvika Ligeonniere (one) and Djakadam (two) have meant that Willie Mullins has won three of the last five renewals.
Mullins also has the likely favourite for this year’s renewal in the shape of Min who has won twice over hurdles at Punchestown but who flopped when second-favourite at last season’s Punchestown Festival over two-miles. To be fair he may well have been past his best for the season that day after finishing second at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. There was certainly no disgrace in finishing second to Politologue at Aintree over a similar trip to today’s at Aintree and he had Balko Des Flos well behind that day, though that horse had previously earned his top-rating by outstaying Min’s stablemate Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The vote just goes to Min as he may benefit from having Ruby Walsh back in the saddle for the first time since December 2016. Walsh is four from five on him, with that one defeat coming when second to Altior in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase Free Tip:
Min @ 2.10 SkyBet, Coral, SportPesa
The Grade 2 Peterborough Chase has a new name this season and it’s now known as the Edredon Bleu Chase, a horse that won the race in four successive seasons between 1998 and 2001. This year’s contest lacks that kind of star quality but it does look a competitive betting heat with the likes of God’s Own, Charbel, and Tea For Two all rated within 1lb of each other at the top of the ratings.
God’s Own has the class to win this at his best but, whilst he was handicapped to win the Haldon Gold Cup last time at Exeter, he has to concede 6lb to his main rivals this time. Charbel has been in especially good form this season, with his win at Chepstow boosted by the runner-up Baron Alco who won the Betvictor Gold Cup on his next start, and he deserves to get his head in front after running the high-class Politologue close at Ascot over a similar trip last time. Form which means the handicapper could have easily raised him to a higher-mark.
Edredon Bleu Chase Free Tip:
Charbel @ 2.80 888Sport, Matchbook
Odds Correct at Time of Publication