We start with the feature of the day in the John Durkin over two mile four. A high class field sees four grade one winners. Gilgamboa looks to have a right task but is taken to beat both Mullins horses.
Djakadam needed his first few runs last year before coming to the boil. But he is high class and could take the beaten. The fact he is the price he is though suggests he will benefit. Valsuer Lido is another consistent sort but usually finds one to good.
Gilgamboa will appreciate this trip a d ground. He is also a better horse going right handed. This could be a big prove target for him given it is only really punchestown and fairyhouse that are right handed and have grade ones. As mentioned this is a high class field. Foxrock, Clarcam, Hidden Cyclone and even the old lad Flemenstar could not be written off. I however am keen on Gilgamboa to add this to his win last spring.
A beginners chase is the next race with the return of my biggest Cheltenham flop Point Alexandre. He has only run four times and always looked a chaser. However he hasn’t seen a racecourse in near four years and is opposable. Balbir Du Mathan is the selection. He doesn’t look a natural over fences but has had the three runs so could go handicapping and its interesting they come here to take on the Mullins hotpot. He is bred a d his French form suggest he is high class and off a short break hopefully can show it.
The rest look set for handicaps.
Balbir Du Mathan (WIN) 14:55 Punchestown
Sizing Gold and Empire of Dirt are both smart enough types to take this handicap but the never ageing Followmeuptocarlow has plenty in his favour today. This is his favourite track and he more often places than not here. The handicapper looks to have given him a small chance and he needs everything to fall right for him but this will be his Gold Cup.
Of the remainder I would say Barely Legal is the biggest danger. He had a prep run over hurdles last time and should strip fitter now.