Back a World Rev(e)olution
Man On The Spot previews all Thursday's action from the Punchestown Festival.
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15.40 Stephens Green Hibernian Club Hurdle
Marito races over hurdles for the first time since last year's Festival but has a touch of class and was in good form over fences prior to falling in the Jewson at Cheltenham when chasing the leaders. If that hasn't affected his confidence, he won't be far away. Mackeys Forge is another who's been chasing and he finished ahead of Knockgraffon King at Fairyhouse in December over the larger obstacles. Clar Na Mionn wasn't disgraced in a Cork handicap after winning at that track earlier while Rye Martini has claims dropping back in trip but there should be more to come from MALT MASTER. Another who's been chasing, he was second in a novice hurdle here last year and can go one better this time.
16.20 Bibby Financial Services Handicap Chase
Twinlight has been holding his own in much better company this season and top weight shouldn't prevent another prominent showing from Willie Mullins' talented course and distance winner. Lead Kindly Light and Uncle Tom Cobley have been thereabouts of late while Barneys Honour arrives in terrific form having won again at Wexford six days ago. Darenjan, A Fine Young Man and Paddy O Dee are others coming off the back of recent victories but this may be too competitive for Zoe Davison's veteran Nozic nowadays while Plan A has an absence to overcome. Miradane and Beneficial Spirit certainly shouldn't be ignored but HARPSY CORD is long overdue another success and showed signs of a revival at Gowran last month under a big weight. He's preferred to Far Away So Close and gets a tentative vote.
16.55 Avon Ri Corporate & Leisure Resort Chase For The La Touche Cup
Big Shu won the cross-country chase at Cheltenham last month but was meeting many of today's rivals on better terms. Peter Maher's charge may struggle to stage an encore as he was receiving 3lb when beaten by Arabella Boy over 3m here in February. Bostons Angel is closely tied in with a few of these but the feeling persists that this trip stretches his stamina. Uncle Junior won this last year, just holding off veteran Lydon House with Long Strand behind. He has a chance again and Arabella Boy and OUTLAW PETE both failed to complete that day. But Josh Halley's stayer had just hit the front when falling five out and he's had another good season which he can top it by landing this, though Star Neuville is capable of running a big race and winning pointer Givemeabuzz may surprise a few on his first try over the trip.
17.30 Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle
Solwhit is beginning to look a genuine class act over 3m and followed up his victory in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham by beating Holywell in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree. Both of those were Grade 1 events and Charles Byrnes' stable star will be fancied to complete his hat-trick here, despite then presence of brilliant mare Quevega. She had to weave her way through a wall of horses to win a fifth David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham after meeting trouble in-running and has also won this for the last three seasons. She was behind Solwhit in the Champion Hurdle here in 2009, but that was over 2m and there shouldn't be much to choose the pair today. REVE DE SIVOLA was forced to make his own running in the World Hurdle and couldn't quicken approaching the last. But the softer ground here is very much in his favour and he showed himself to be a top-class stayer when winning the Long Walk Hurdle and Cleeve Hurdle earlier. He may just be the value in the race if held up this time. Zaidpour is a Grade 1 winner but has been beaten again since pulling up at Cheltenham and may have had enough for the season, though is still preferred to the Mullins' other runner Fiveforthree and fellow veteran Whatuthink.
18.05 Naas Court Hotel And Il Fico Restaurant Handicap Hurdle
The former Aidan O'Brien-trained Acapulco won a shade cosily at Cork last month and, despite a 6lb higher mark, may be capable of reversing earlier Naas running with Miss Xian. Call Rog had no problem with the step up to 3m here last month and is another leading contender, but FOREVER GOLD might have a chance of reversing form with the latter on better terms. Edward Cawley's winning pointer is heading in the right direction and his low weight might be an advantage if the going gets any softer. Others to consider include Art Lord and Operating, though the latter needs to bounce back from a poor run in a Grade 2 here last month. Balnagon Boy is trying 3m for the first time while Letherbelucky may be in the handicapper's grip now but Followmeuptocarlow beat Los Amigos over track and trip nine days ago and could be thereabouts again.
18.40 Ryanair Novice Chase
Benefficient is clearly very tough and defied big odds to upset subsequently impressive Aintree winner Dynaste in the Jewson at Cheltenham having taken advantage of Arvika Ligeonniere's fall to beat Oscars Well in the Arkle at Leopardstown in January. Tony Martin's gelding had earlier finished well beaten behind Arvika Ligeonniere, Oscars Well and Baily Green in the Racing Post Chase at Leopardstown, however, though Willie Mullins' charge appears to have lost his confidence and the latter took little interest behind SPECIAL TIARA at Aintree having finished second to Simonsig at Cheltenham. We'll take Henry De Bromhead's six-year-old to continue the improvement he showed at Aintree by following up here. He was reversing running here in the autumn with Baily Green and, after just four starts over fences, should have plenty more to offer. Alderwood looks held on the form book but Realt Mor won a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse, when ahead of Oscars Well and Buckers Bridge, and can't be taken lightly.
19.15 Orchid Transport Mares Novice Hurdle
TWIGLINE was only headed close home in a Grade 3 at Limerick last month. Curvacious was back in fourth and Money Spider pulled up after her saddle slipped. That looks the best form on offer in this and Willie Mullins' mare should take all the beating, though the yard also run the unbeaten Upsie who overcame trouble in-running to win a shade cosily at Naas in February. Kates Benefit shot clear at Navan last time and is another with scope but Bobbina and Speckled Wood need to improve again on respective wins at Limerick and Clonmel. The Conker Club was still a little green when scoring at the latter track four weeks ago but this is a big step up in class.
19.45 Kildare Post Flat Race
Naas winner Quickpick Vic was found wanting at Aintree and this is another tough test. Captain Cutter probably came up against a smart prospect at Ascot in February and may have scope for improvement but Turnandgo is also heading in the right direction judged on an easy at Clonmel while the mares Kilbarry Beauty and Young Ambition are worth a second look with their allowance. Grand Jesture has the beating of Agent James on Fairyhouse running and Railway Tommy won over course and distance in February but the selection is CAILIN ANNAMH. Her run behind Legacy Gold at Aintree was a cracking effort and a step up on her victory at Wexford in the autumn. She may just have needed that and is preferred to the returning Somethingwonderful.