The Mandarin’s Selections from the Punchestown Festival: Day One

Howden Insurance Brokers Mares’ Novice Hurdle (Listed) 3.40
Party Central
Gordon Elliott can land the opener to the end of season Irish National Hunt season at Headquarters with Party Central. Though she didn’t seem to take to the track in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, back on home soil she’s expected to resume progress. Ground to suit, and high on the shortlist, along with the Willie Mullins pair of Dinoblue and Grangee

Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 4.15
Sir Gerhard (nap)
A fascinating race in prospect between the two Closutton inmates, Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo. We gave Dysart Dynamo for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, but he looked held when falling three out, with the hugely impressive Constitution Hill just getting into his stride. However, preference is for Sir Gerhard, winner of the Ballymore at Prestbury Park, who should find the drop back in trip right up his street as he can race keenly. Banker bet

William Hill Champion Chase (Grade 1) 5.25
Chacun Pour Soi (nb)
The enigmatic Chacun Pour Soi is a poor traveller, so returned to familiar climes has to be the one to beat in this top class renewal. There’s five lining up, but barring any mishaps, it’s really a match between the two stablemates. Front runner Energumene likes plenty of cut in the ground, but Chacun Pour Soi gets his ground here, and is unbeaten on home soil for the last two years, so hard to oppose in the feature

Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1) 6.35
Bob Olinger
Bob Olinger sets the standard here for this Grade 1 contest. He looked to have his bubble burst when defending his unbeaten start since sent chasing, in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, until the exciting Galopin Des Champs somehow managed throw the race away when 11 lengths clear over the last. That rival doesn’t line up today, so Bob Olinger is an easy choice to protect the immaculate record

Kildare Hunt Club Cross Country Chase For The Ladies Perpetual Cup 7.10
Good Bye Sam
Though it’s always worth taking note of Enda Bolger’s runners in these banks courses, Willie Mullins and son Patrick may have the last say in the closing race of the first day of the Punchestown Festival. The French import should be the one to keep on your side with plenty of decent form in the book, and just gets the vote ahead of De Nordener

The Mandarin

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