It's the middle day of the Punchestown Festival on Thursday and the Grade 1 action keeps coming in Ireland, with Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders selecting three to follow on day three.
Coeur Sublime @ 12/1
Monkfish @ 11/2
Kilbeg King @ 14/1
Hopefully this is the day the high-class Coeur Sublime finally lands a decent prize in the Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (4.15) at Punchestown as he should have the race run to suit.
This strong traveller saves his best for this track as his three starts here have yielded a Grade 1 fourth in the 2020 Morgiana Hurdle behind Abacadabras, a beginners' chase second to the top-class Ferny Hollow, and a head second to Blue Lord in a Grade 1 novice chase at this meeting last year.
I'm willing to forgive his disappointing 12th in the Grand Annual last time as his Cheltenham form leaves plenty to be desired, and the Blue Lord run last season came after a tailed-off seventh in the Arkle at Cheltenham previously.
Coeur Sublime is better here and off a 3lb lower Irish mark, and with high-class 5lb claimer Ben Harvey booked for the ride, he can hit the frame at a nice each-way price with four places up for grabs.
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Thursday's highlight is the Champion Stayers' Hurdle (5.25) and it is wide open despite Teahupoo's position as clear market leader.
I've little against Teahupoo apart from his price and the fact he might not be the strongest stayer over three miles when the ground gets testing.
It was a disappointment Teahupoo was unable to account for enigmatic 11-year-old stablemate Sire Du Berlais, who has surprisingly established himself as the leading stayer around this spring, at Cheltenham last time.
Sire Du Berlais is never one to completely discount, but a Cheltenham-Aintree-Punchestown treble would be an almighty feat and require an iron constitution.
Willie Mullins saddles three relatively fresh horses with serious talent in Asterion Forlonge, Klassical Dream and Monkfish.
Preference is for an each-way bet on the latter, who looks poised to reverse Fairyhouse form with Asterion Forlonge as it was his first run in almost two years and he was putting in his best work at the finish, staying on for a half-length second to a rival with the benefit of a warm-up run.
That suggested he would be seen to better effect back over this three-mile trip and it is worth remembering that Monkfish was once the favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup before injury curtailed the mid-point of his career. The staying hurdle division lacks a standout performer and his class can get him through under Danny Mullins.
Anthony Honeyball has saddled two winners and a second from seven runners at Punchestown in the last five seasons and Kilbeg King looks to have a decent chance in the Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle (6.00).
Kilbeg King ran a cracker on his handicap debut when just outstayed on attritional conditions by well-handicapped veteran On The Blind Side at Newbury last time, the pair pulling 17-lengths clear of the third.
This lightly-raced eight-year-old remains seriously unexposed as a staying hurdler and will love the ground. Aidan Coleman, who arrives at Punchestown for just the one ride aboard Kilbeg King, can steer him home clear off a 1lb higher mark.
He looks on the upgrade, so the six places available for each-way betting looks worth taking at double-figure odds.
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