The Punchestown Festival never disappoints, and this week has been no different!
Day four is on the horizon, and Friday’s star attraction is undoubtedly Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle, going for their 12th straight win.
We’ve taken a look at the runners and riders and come up with a couple of Odds Picks, including a 7/1 long shot!
Our Top Odds Pick – Honeysuckle (17:25) & Gaillard Du Mesnil (18:00) Double – 1.33/1 at Betfair
Rachael Blackmore has yet to ride a winner this week, but we reckon that will change on Friday, as she rides one of the most fancied horses of the day in Honeysuckle.
Fresh off a hugely impressive six-length victory at Cheltenham, Honeysuckle puts her 100% record on the line in the Champion Hurdle.
Sharjah and Epatante were left in her wake that day, and they look to be the best of the rest once again.
However, it’s hard to see where they are going to make up six and nine lengths respectively against a horse who just seems to be getting better with every race.
Blackmore would have been riding two of the day’s main fancies, but Bob Olinger’s late withdrawal from the Novice Hurdle has deprived punters of another of Cheltenham’s standout stars.
And his absence opens the door for Gaillard Du Mesnil to strike, in what is now a four horse race.
Willie Mullins’ gelding was a distant second to Bob Olinger at Cheltenham, but that loss was preceded by two wins and he hasn’t finished outside the top two in his last nine outings.
Mullins also saddles up Ganapathi and N’Golo, but when hearing him say they are “Realistically running for place money”, it’s easy to discount them!
Which leaves Ashdale Bob, who won last time out at Fairyhouse, but was 48 lengths behind Gaillard Du Mesnil the last time they faced off.
Our Long Shot – Solomn Grundy (18:35) – 7/1 at Paddy Power
Sean Doyle’s gelding may be getting on a bit now, but the 11-year-old is in cracking form, winning his last two races.
Both of those contests were just over three miles, which is the distance he finds himself tackling once again in the Champion Hunters Chase.
Solomn Grundy will have to defy a seven-pound rise in the weights from his last four outings, but with a couple of wins over the same mark in the last year, we’re not too worried.
And with victories on everything from yielding to heavy ground, the going shouldn’t be an issue either.
With a favourite in Billaway who looks worth opposing after a poor showing last time out at Aintree, this does look like a wide open encounter in which Solomn Grundy could go very well.
Please note that all odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.