Punchestown: English raider fancied to snuff out Mullins jolly

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News.Ladbrokes readers would have steered well clear of odds-on flop Don Poli on the first day at Punchestown, after your friendly neighbourhood tipsters flagged up both Valseur Lido and Felix Yonger, at 7/1 and 6/1 no less, to cause upsets in County Kildare.

We’re fishing in pretty much the same pond today, with the NAP going to English raider Colin Tizzard’s Kayf Tara gelding Thistlecrack, currently priced at 8/1 with Ladbrokes, in the Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at 16.55.

Thistlecrack took the Grade 1 Doom Bar Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree by a whopping 13l earlier this month, having been tipped up at 25/1 by the Racing Post, which earned him an official rating just 6lb behind 13/8 favourite Shaneshill, and just 3lb off Willie Mullins’ runner in the Racing Post’s RPR.

He’s lightly raced for a seven-year-old, running just eight times in 24 months since debuting and winning on four occasions, with three of those victories coming since mid-January, plus a respectable three-and-a-half length fifth of 23 in a Grade 3 at Sandown when clearly in need of further than 2m.

After Tizzard’s boy romped home over 3m at Aintree, half a furlong more round Punchestown looks ideal, yet the same can’t quite be said for Mullins’ jolly.

Shaneshill has never been outside the first two in eight races under rules and chased home Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Douvan at Cheltenham, but he disappointed over 2m4f when 4/9 jolly at Navan in December, finishing one-and-a-half lengths behind No More Heroes, the 11/4 second favourite here.

Mullins’ inmate’s 13l besting of Outlander over the same trip at Fairyhouse earlier this month looked fairly impressive, but there were only six horses in the race and 10/1 third-favourite Snow Falcon finished 65l behind Gordon Elliott’s runner-up, so it’s questionable how good that form really is.

At the prices, No More Heroes looks a sounder bet having placed over 3m last month, but by that rationale the improving Thistlecrack is well worth a wager at 8/1 to make Tizzard’s trip worthwhile.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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