The Mandarin’s Wednesday Selections for the Punchestown Festival

Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 5.20
The Nice Guy
He maintained his unbeaten record when scoring in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, but enhanced his rating further with the manner of the success. Stablemate Minella Cocooner should be on the premises as well though, with 5 lengths to find on The Nice Guy, while Minella Crooner has a perfect two from two around Punchestown. A cracking race in store, but The Nice Guy looks the least exposed, so gets the nod

Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) 5.55
Allaho (nap)
An impressive winner of the last two Ryanair Chases at the Cheltenham Festival, this tough front-runner could be very hard to reel in if seeing out this three mile trip. There’s every chance that he will, considering his performances up the Cheltenham finish the last two years. Very much the one to beat

Race & Stay At Punchestown Champion I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 1) 6.30
Facile Vega (nb)
The exciting Facile Vega, out of the remarkable Quevega, has to be all the rage to further burnish his already high rating. He meets Gordon Elliott’s American Mike, who came off second best in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, and there’s no reason to expect a reversal of this placings. However, yesterday proved that odds-on favourites do go down, when Sir Gerhard failed to fire in the Champion Novice Hurdle, but Facile Vega is bred in the purple and should be winning this

OMC Claims Handicap Chase (Grade A) 7.05
Royal Rendezvous
There’s plenty here with valid claims lining up for this valuable handicap, not least the Willie Mullins team of Egality Mans, Ciel De Niege and Royal Rendezvous. Preference is for Royal Rendezvous though, who is a classy sort on his day and lines up as top weight here for good reason. He looks the stable first string on jockey booking with Paul Townend up in the saddle so is sure to be in the mix

Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race (Grade 3) 7.45
Pink In The Park
Pink In The Park was behind Doran’s Weir when they met at Fairyhouse earlier this month, but is given another chance here in the excellent hands of Patrick Mullins. This course should suit the Walk In The Park mare, and she surely has plenty more to come in the closing race of day two

The Mandarin

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