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Punchestown Horse Racing Tips for Thursday: Asterion Forlonge to challenge favourite

On Thursday we reach the midpoint of the Punchestown festival. There are two Grade 1s on the card, as well as the La Touche Cup on the banks course and two Listed handicaps.

The latest horse racing betting tips for Thursday's card at Punchestown from the Racing Post's Keith Melrose.

Horse Racing

Thursday's Punchestown Horse Racing Betting Tips and Odds

4.15 - Blood Destiny @ 3/1
5.25 - Il Etait Temps @
6.00 - Asterion Forlonge @

4.15 - Blood Destiny @ 3/1

The first of two Listed handicaps on the card is a chase around 2m, in which a handful of the players from the Grand Annual at Cheltenham and Red Rum at Aintree line up once more. Path D'Oroux was third in both of those races, while Saint Roi was sixth at Cheltenham and second at Aintree.

The smart, unexposed Blood Destiny has by far the most persuasive form claims and should be able to get the job done for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. He only started his chasing career in December and in four runs has been beaten by just two horses. One of them is Spillane's Tower, who won a Grade 1 here on Tuesday.

Blood Destiny switches his attention to handicaps now off a mark of 150. On what he has achieved in novices, going by Racing Post Ratings that figure is on the generous side of fair.

He also has clear potential to improve further, being a quick horse who will be at least as at home over this trip on spring ground as he was over further in the mud.

5.25 - Il Etait Temps @ 11/4

The Barberstown Castle is Punchestown's answer to the Arkle and it is pretty tough to argue with Arkle winner Gaelic Warrior being favourite. He was impressive that day and the runner-up has since won a Grade 1 at Aintree.

However, at his cramped odds there is room to take him on. That is especially true when a horse like Il Etait Temps is in the field.

This gelding also won a Grade 1 at Aintree, in his case smashing up Ginny's Destiny and Grey Dawning who had been so impressive in coming clear in the Turners at Cheltenham.

Il Etait Temps had been third in the Arkle, when his inexperience shone through. He was held up and could not recover from a bad error four out. At Aintree, he looked to go from boy to man and his professionalism could not be faulted.

Il Etait Temps has always been a serious talent. Now that he has the professionalism to go with it, he can put it up to Gaelic Warrior to a greater extent than the market currently gives him credit for.

6.00 - Asterion Forlonge @ 11/1

Finally, in the day's feature Champion Stayers Hurdle we have another short-priced favourite whose position is hard to knock. Teahupoo, who took the Stayers' Hurdle in good style, is the likeliest winner and that is that.

Again, the argument is less about his position as favourite and more about how likely or otherwise that we see the best of him again. His season was all about Cheltenham and he was put away for March after winning the Hatton's Grace on his reappearance in December.

He came to Punchestown after Cheltenham last season, and could not match his level. The chances of similar happening again are real.

The horse to take him on with is Asterion Forlonge. It is impossible to comment on this 10-year-old without mentioning his quirks, although he tends to be on his best behaviour at Punchestown. That figures, as he shows a marked tendency to go to his right which has caught him out at Cheltenham and Leopardstown in the past.

In six career runs at Punchestown, Asterion Forlonge has recorded three of the best six runs of his life on RPRs. He has also beaten Conflated hands down in a beginners' chase. The other two were an early fall and this year's seasonal reappearance, in a Grade 1 chase.

Asterion Forlonge in the right mood is a danger to just about any horse. That being so, at one of his favourite tracks it is something of a gift to see him available at double-figure odds in a field with an acknowledged favourite, but little depth.

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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