Record crowds have graced the end of season jamboree that is the Punchestown Festival this week and those crowds have been treated to some brilliant action.
It’s very serious grade 1 racing of course but the whole thing has a relaxed end of term feel to it. Mullins and Walsh must be one of the great Trainer, Jockey combinations there has ever been in Irish Racing and they are as always very tough opponents anywhere but particularly on there own turf.
Today they run their Superstar mare Quevega in the 5.30 the grade 1 Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. The difference for the mighty mare today and what many see as making her vulnerable is that this is an open race not a mares only race like the one she has made her own at Cheltenham.
Mullins keeps this mare in cotton wool most of the year and we rarely see her race so that he is sure she is spot on for her big target races mainly Cheltenham. I’m not sure I’m a fan of this as I like to see good horses run regularly but I’m sure Mullins is disinterested in what any one else thinks and is record shows that he knows what he is doing.
Her main threat is the admirable At Fishers Cross who though ran flat early in the season has run some high quality races at grade 1 level including a narrow defeat to the highly progressive Whisper at Aintree. You can make a strong case for saying on the book At Fishers has achieved more as the mares Quevega beat at Cheltenham were far from top class. The question is how much more did she have in the tank. At 10/11 she will be popular but I know there is confidence in the Rebecca Curtis camp and I fancy At Fishers Cross to spring a shock here.
It’s a great meeting to sit and enjoy with ATR, Matt Chapman the Bros member that got away is touring the course like a man possessed this week interviewing anyone that moves. It makes for bizarre but fascinating viewing.
Enjoy this last great Jumps Jamboree then it’s head down for some serious flat racing, there’s money to be made and gambles to land!!
Back next Thursday.
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18:40 Punchestown – Balder Succes @ 11/4 (3.75) Paddy Power