The Mandarin’s Thursday Selections from the Punchestown Festival

Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (Grade B) 4.15
Mt Leinster
He arrives here on a hat-trick after wins at Leopardstown and Fairyhouse, albeit gifted the last race after the re-opposing Grange Walk fell two out. However, this pair are likely to head the betting once more, but Mt Leinster is the least exposed after just the six starts over fences, and this will be just his third in handicap company. Willie Mullins is well in at the winner’s enclosure this week, and can book another ticket here

Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase 4.50
Neverushacon
Jessica Harrington’s likeable gelding has a solid enough record over the banks course, winning this race in 2020, and well in contention when unseating six out last year. A return to form when runner-up at Wexford four weeks ago should have him teed up nicley for another big run. Each way claims at the least

Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) 5.25
Klassical Dream (nap)
The winner of this race last year, he put in a good shift to finish a 5 length fifth to Flooring Porter in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This season’s renewal looks a warm one, with the likes of Paisley Park and Sire Du Berlais lining up, but Klassical Dream is a classy sort who goes well round here. Sure to go close

Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 6.00
Macs Charm
It’s notable that Nicky Henderson brings over a couple of raiders from his Seven Barrows yard, but City Chief and The Bomber Liston may have to settle for the place money, as they chase home the progressive Macs Charm. He’s been a revelation this term, and is unbeaten in three starts this calendar year, so has to be the one to beat with this step up in trip surely in his range

Barberstown Castle Novice Chase (Grade 1) 6.35
Gentleman De Mee (nb)
If he’s anywhere close to the run that he put in to take the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last time out, he’s going to be very hard to catch around here. Steadily progressive this season, and still unexposed over fences, so with the scalp of Edwardstone from the last day, very much the one to keep on side

The Mandarin

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