A Grade Two chase and a Grand National trial highlight Sunday’s Punchestown card, with crack County Carlow handler Willie Mullins unlikely to have it all his own way in the former, for a change.
Mullins sends out improving Twinlight under stable jockey Ruby Walsh in the Tied Cottage Chase at 15.40, after the eight-year-old finished just five lengths behind Sprinter Sacre when Nicky Henderson’s superstar returned from a long injury lay-off at Ascot recently
Twinlight will renew rivalries with Shark Hanlan’s Hidden Cyclone, having beaten the Mee family gelding into second at Leopardstown by four-and-three-quarter lengths over Xmas, so the Mullins/Walsh charge is bound to attract plenty of pre-race support.
However, Racing Post tipping supremo Tom Segal, also known as ‘Pricewise’, put Hidden Cyclone up as his ante-post tip for the Queen Mother Champion Chase since at 33/1, with those odds slashed down to 20/1 shortly afterwards,
Hanlan’s animal has proved somewhat untrustworthy, having fallen in both his races prior to the aforementioned Leopardstown outing, but the 11-year-old’s two-and-a-quarter length second behind Dynaste in Cheltenham 2014’s Ryanair Chase is rare form indeed.
Gigginstown representative Bright New Dawn for Sandra Hughes, a 50/1 poke for the Champion Chase, will also have a big say under lauded young horseman Bryan Cooper. Twinlight can be backed at 33/1 for Cheltenham Wednesday’s showpiece.
There’s more quality to come in the Grand National trial at 16.10, with Hughes’ Raz De Maree, a 33/1 shot for the world’s greatest steeplechase, at the top of the weights.
Raz De Maree faces a strong challenge from Robert Tyner’s Embracing Change lower down the handicap, as the son of Anshan is going for a four-timer on soft ground he clearly loves.
Keep an eye on the market for the bumper at 16.40 too, with unraced duo General Principle and Prince D’Aubrelle, for Gordon Elliott and Mullins respectively, set to face off.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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