Fairyhouse on Saturday
I’m looking forward to seeing Youmdor run in the opening contest (12:00). It was hard not to be impressed with him when he bolted up on his debut, but he left the impression that there was a little more in the tank. He’ll improve for that run and he could turn into a live Triumph Hurdle contender if he wins this.
King Alex was hiked up 12lb for his latest win, but that didn’t stop him from running a big race on his latest start to finish second over Christmas. He travelled well and has clearly improved with each run. Barry O’Connell’s horses are in good form and this race (15:25) looks like another opportunity for him.
It’s great to see Mick Winters with a good horse and his Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Chatham Street Lad looks like he’ll go close again. He was good at Cheltenham last time in a strong, competitive handicap. He has the fortune of having Simon Torrens on his back too. Simon is great value for his 5lb claim and I think they’ll go well in this Handicap Chase (14:15).
Punchestown on Sunday
The most exciting horse in National Hunt racing, Envoi Allen, is running again and I know the racing world will be watching him. Even though he’s giving weight to a good horse, I don’t think it’ll stop him from winning.
He’s a machine and should be too much for his rivals, despite giving up weight. Seeing these novices come through the ranks is what we all love, so its fingers crossed he can keep his unbeaten run going.
The Moscow Flyer is a proper little race – it’s really competitive. I’ve been really taken with Master McShee this season and you’d have to say, if he was trained by someone more fashionable than Pat Corkery, he’d be a fraction of the price that he is.
His second to Appreciate It on his first run of the season is very good form and his two victories in his two runs since have been nothing short of eye-catching. He’s a good horse.
Ross has a runner on Sunday too with Favori Logique and we expect him to go well. He found 2m a touch too sharp for him last time, but he steps back up in trip again and I think the key to him will be the course. He might just appreciate the test of Punchestown, and he could run a big race.
In the last race, I think Fairly Legal will go well too. Despite being 11 years of age, he’s still lightly-raced. He’s run well in some competitive races this season, but this looks much more winnable. He’s got Derek O’Connor on his back too, and fingers crossed he can give JP McManus and his family a winner.
My 4 To Win picks on Saturday
Make Me A Believer was good at Cheltenham last time and I think he’ll appreciate the step up in trip.
Storm Control jumps for fun and, while he got idle on the run in at Cheltenham, it looked as though he got lonely and had plenty in the tank when the runner-up got close to him.
Come On Teddy is the most likely improver in the field. We’re yet to see the best of him and any horse who wins competitive handicaps at Cheltenham usually has a good level of ability.
15:50 Market Rasen
Knocknamona will love the ground and has been in great form this season. It’s a wide-open race but I expect he’ll go well with Alain Crawley on his back.
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