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Today’s Racing News: Closutton clash lights up Punchestown’s knockout card

There’s plenty of action for racing punters to get stuck into today, but the main focus turns to Punchestown as the National Hunt season comes to a close in Ireland. We take a closer look at one of the clashes of the season as Ballymore winner Sir Gerhard takes on speedy stablemate Dysart Dynamo in the race of the day section!

Money Talk

Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

In the 15:48 at Yarmouth, the well-handicapped Bake 2.01/1 looks the best bet on the card and will make his reappearance under William Buick for trainer Martyn Meade. Bake scored in excellent style on seasonal return at this venue last season and is extremely hard to oppose off this mark of 84 back on a quick surface.

Brighton is a specialist track, and course experience can be an advantage. In the 15:58, Jewel In My Crown 6.511/2 scored here in impressive style last term and is the sole runner in the field that has course form 100%.

At Nottingham in the 16:05, Musidora runner-up Noon Star 2.01/1 makes her return to action for Sir Michael Stoute and will take on the highest-rated horse in the field in Technique 3.7511/4 in what looks like an excellent clash. Stoute won this contest with Juddmonte owned Sun Maiden in 2019, has a 20% strike rate at Nottingham and has booked Ryan Moore for the ride (20%).

It’s low graded action at Ayr today, but in the 19:25, Jim Goldie’s newcomer Milliemix 6.511/2 has been backed 40/1 into 16/1 (touched 11/2) on the Betfair Sportsbook overnight.

Punchestown Festival packs a serious punch

Willie Mullins will look for a sixth win of the opening contest, the 15:40 at Punchestown, in the last ten years. He saddles, Dinoblue 3.02/1, Grangee 5.04/1 and Instit 9.08/1. Still, the former and JP owned favourite may find this drop in distance an inconvenience after lacking speed but catching the eye, staying on strongly over 2m4f at Fairyhouse.

Willie Mullins’ dominance will continue as he holds all the aces in looking for a seventh and fourth straight victory in the 16:15 with Sir Gerhard 1.910/11 and Dysart Dynamo 2.35/4. Check out the race of the day section.

In the 17:25, Cheltenham Champion Chase winner Energumene 1.84/5 will clash with stablemate Chacun Pour Soi 2.26/5, and both have 100% records at this venue, along with Andy Dufresne. Every horse in the race has won here at Punchestown in a fascinating contest. Will the season’s tough races affect the favourite?

The unbeaten Bob Olinger will put his record on the line in the 18:35 Champion Novice Chase as he steps up to a new trip of 3m and wears a first-time tongue-tie. Interestingly, there is very little stamina on his dam’s side, with no siblings winning over 3m.

In the 19:10 at Punchestown, Hows Trix, has been backed from 30/1 into 11/2 with the Betfair Sportsbook and was as big as 80/1 in places early this morning.

Horses for courses

This section highlights the best bets from horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks.

15:23 Brighton – Junoesque – Has won here six times (46%)
16:15 Punchestown – Dysart Dynamo – Has won here twice (100%)
17:25 Punchestown – Chacun Pour Soi – Has won here twice (100%)

Weighted to go well

“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

14:40 Yarmouth – I Am A Dreamer – Has won off 82 runs off 68
15:13 Yarmouth – Pledge Of Honour – Has won off 75 runs off 64
20:00 Ayr – Spanish Angel – Has won off 81 runs off 59

Furthest traveller

Today’s furthest traveller is trainer Mark Johnston with a clutch of runners at Brighton. Today he has made the 296-mile journey from his base to the south coast venue.

Race of the day

We take a closer look at the much anticipated Closutton clash at Punchestown at 16:15, where two highly regarded stablemates will fight out the Champion Novice Hurdle.

SBK8/11

EXC1.72

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: P. Townend
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 12lbs
OR:

Sir Gerhard heads the betting and arrives on the back of a gusty success at Cheltenham in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle over 2m5f. The drop back to 2m today should prove no issue given the speed he has shown previously, and it was more of a case of him playing out of position to fill the spaces at Cheltenham. Still, the odds-on favourite does have his negatives. He dissapointed here in a bumper on the back of Cheltenham success last term, and given the ground conditions in the Ballymore this year; he likely had a hard race there.

I am not a huge fan of his form, in all honesty. He beat Three Stripe Life eight lengths in the Champion Bumper, and he has beaten the same horse the last twice when picking up two Grade 1 contests over hurdles by six and then three lengths. He is clearly a superior horse to that one, but not by a great distance, and the form with Kilcruit from last term was given a blow when he was unable to lay a glove on Jonbon and Dysart Dynamo before the latter departed in the Supreme.

SBK13/8

EXC2.9

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11st 12lbs
OR:

Dysart Dynamo was much closer in the ante-post betting to Sir Gerhard for the Supreme Novice Hurdle than he is today. He did nothing to tarnish his reputation when departing in that contest at three from home when still travelling strongly.

It’s hard to suggest he would have laid a glove on the spectacular winner Constitution Hill, but it would likely have been the same case for today’s rival Sir Gerhard.

He needs to prove that fall hasn’t left a mark, but the return to a right-handed track after jumping out to his right at Cheltenham is a positive, and he does have a perfect two for two record at this venue – both times scoring impressively. He has a small margin to find on the official ratings. Still, Sir Gerhard picked up a four-pound hike in the ratings for winning a poor renewal of the Ballymore over 2m5f, and he is effectively rated just 1lb higher over this distance, so it may not be the stiff task it initially looks.

Dysart Dynamo will likely get a soft lead should he be quicker over the first few obstacles today, with Sir Gerhard likely to sit (connections have said he will be better with a lead previously) off the pace, and that will give Patrick Mullins every opportunity to dictate this contest.

Big race verdict

This is a fascinating race with both Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo selected to come to the fore. Dysart Dynamo edges the vote returned to Punchestown, and he could dictate this race from the off with his early speed and exploit any chinks in the armour of Sir Gerhard, who surely had a hard race at Cheltenham. Sir Gerhard has been highly touted for victory today.

Still, racing has a short memory, and the impressive performances – including at this track – from Dysart Dynamo should not be quickly forgotten. He did nothing to tarnish his reputation at Cheltenham, so underestimate him at your peril.

Dudman looks to the Classic weekend at Newmarket

Alan Dudman is standing in the antepost seat for the next two days, and he’s looking ahead to the Classic weekend at Newmarket and is taking on the favourite in the 2000 Guineas…

Final Word

Punchestown looks a cracker today! It’s usually tough for punters, given many horses find this one race too many at the end of the season. Bob Olinger looked that way at Cheltenham, and backers surely must have concerns on the back of that run now up to 3m and fitted with a first-time tongue-tie? I supposed the issue is that there isn’t much confidence you could have in the rest of the field putting up a performance good enough to beat a below-par Bob.There’s been a few moments like this throughout the season where you see a good opportunity to take on a favourite, but once final declarations are in, the field cuts up so much with other alternatives that they end up getting away with it.I do hope the National Hunt racing calendar is given a good look at over the summer months and something is put in place for the 23/24 season. While the National Hunt season has had spectacular moments of brilliance, the day to day and week to week stuff in Britain really has been lacklustre.Until tomorrow, be lucky.
Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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