We start our day’s previews with a wide open handicap over a mile.
Celtic Sixpence looks an early favourite in the market having only just been beaten three days ago by half a length; she escapes a penalty and has to go on the short list as she is also the only previous course and distance winner after she won this event twelve months ago.
Bognor hasn’t raced on the turf since July last year but has been in very impressive form on the all-weather recently and could be a real danger if he can bring that form to the turf today.
Hot Mustard and Jersey Brown both have a long absence to deal with today but the latter has shown in the past she can strip fit first time out after a long absence; she is another who has strong each way claims.
Artful Prince was a beaten favourite last time out having knocked up a couple of good placed efforts a few months before but he didn’t seem to show up that day and with his jockey’s claim he’s now down to a very lenient mark and is a very strong contender for this.
Artful Prince (E/W if 9/2+)
We head to the south east coast for our next preview a six furlong handicap.
Linda Jewell is represented by Claude Greewood and Fleeting Indian in this today with the former looking the best of the two; he had been knocking on the door in his last two races on the polytrack but he has shown no form in the slightest on the turf in the last two years and the step down in trip may not suit.
Port Lairge showed a glimmer of hope last week over course and distance when finishing fourth; he’s technically running off a seven pound higher mark for this today as he is not receiving the seven pound claim the jockey gave him last time out but can’t be ignored.
Big City Boy is another who showed real promise last time out, he may have a small penalty to deal with after that but with the booking of Fallon and the drop in grade he has a real opportunity to get his first win in twenty four starts.
Big City Boy (WIN)
We end the day’s previews here on day one of the Punchestown Festival, there are three Grade one races here today but we are going to look at this Champion Chase over two miles.
Sizing Europe won this event twice once back in 2012 and also won this twelve months ago; he can race off the same mark again today but he was a long way back when finishing seventh in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month and it maybe his age is finally catching up with him.
Ruby Walsh has chosen to saddle Champagne Fever in this but in all honestly I can’t see why as in my eyes the other Willie Mullins horse Felix Yonger looks a better prospect; he comes here seeking a four timer and only has a pound penalty to negotiate after winning at Naven in a Grade two race last month.
Hidden Cyclone could be a very big player in this today; he seemed to struggle when tried at further at Cheltenham last month and back to his more suited trip he should find himself in the mix again here.
Flemenstar looks very highly priced in the market and was a long way behind Felix Yonger last time out but the handicapper has given him every chance to get close and may be one for the places.
Felix Yonger (E/W if 4/1+ )