Free horse racing selections for Sunday February 9

Check out our latest daily racing preview
Check out our latest daily racing preview

Fitzhenry is David Clough's best bet at Punchestown on Sunday and he has a tip for every race on the card.

NAP: Fitzhenry 4.20 Punchestown

11
710-2OR: 135
6/1
Last RunWatch last race

Next best: Josies Orders 1.45 Punchestown

3
1112-0OR: 135BFCD
5/4
Last RunWatch last race

Fitzhenry can fit the bill in Punchestown's BoyleSports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase as Ireland continues to keep the show on the road during the unscripted shutdown in Britain.

Paul Nolan's seven-year-old faces several more familiar names on his return to a marathon trip in this highly-competitive 17-strong field.

But the JP McManus-owned Flemensfirth gelding, fitted with blinkers in place of previous cheekpieces, remains handicapped to win a decent race after his fine third over three miles and half a furlong in Leopardstown's Paddy Power Chase over Christmas.

Fitzhenry narrowly holds Solomn Grundy from that race, having vastly outrun his odds of 25-1 - and although the latter should also relish the step up in distance, Nolan's improving stayer may well be capable of capping what could be a fine day for jockey Mark Walsh.

British horses are banned, of course, from competing in Ireland during the equine flu outbreak.

But there is nothing stopping jockeys making the trip, and Tom Scudamore could be rewarded for his trouble when he partners Henry de Bromhead's Celtic Rising in the Richard Maher Memorial Rated Novice Chase.

Scudamore is also in action for the same owner-trainer combination on Solomn Grundy in the feature national trial.

But it may be Celtic Rising is the one who raises a smile for him.

The seven-year-old fell on his first attempt over fences - too far out at Limerick to take a definite view about how close he might have got to eventual winner Redhotfillypeppers.

The lightly-raced Celtic Rising faces a field full of useful previous winners. But he has already been successful himself in both a point-to-point and over hurdles - and it is a fair bet he will excel here too, with a clear round.

It rarely pays to look beyond the expertise of Enda Bolger over Punchestown's cross-country course - even when some fellow high-profile yards decide to take him on.

They do so in the opening P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase, with Willie Mullins' 12-year-old Ballycasey the obvious class act.

Bolger is double-handed for McManus, though, and specialist exponent Josies Orders looks the one.

The 11-year-old proved at Cheltenham before Christmas that he still very much has what it takes in this discipline - with a win and a close third - and he can add to his medals en route back to try to regain his crown at the Festival.

Jockey Walsh and McManus may be in business again quickly too, with jumps debutant Top Moon in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.

Joseph O'Brien's four-year-old was well-supported for a Naas bumper when finishing a short-head second on his first racecourse appearance last month.

It is an unusual move to pitch such a young horse into open Listed level - but it means Top Moon will receive bundles of weight-for-age allowance from opponents who do not quite appear to be at the top of the pecking order from other powerful stables.

Talented but ageing novice Prince D'Aubrelle, for example, must concede 18lb - and the same applies to Chosen Mate, who defied unpromising odds of 14-1 to win a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle late last month.

They are doubtless both major contenders, along with De Bromhead's mare Sinoria, but O'Brien may nonetheless be rewarded for his bold gambit.

Glamorgan Duke was an eye-catcher for his small stable on his belated debut at Naas two weeks ago.

As long as he has recovered from that highly likeable start, the Gilligan family's six-year-old can provide further vindication, in the Punchestown Festival Ticket Deal Discount Maiden Hurdle, for his dual Cheltenham Festival entry.

The David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Handicap Hurdle looks a little fiendish.

But the winner's odds will doubtless reflect that, and Global Racing is perhaps the one.

Gavin Cromwell's six-year-old has been given a fair chance at these weights to add to his victory here and decent Fairyhouse third on his only two starts since switching stables, both over this trip.

Sporting Life tips:

PUNCHESTOWN: 1.45 Josies Orders, 2.20 Top Moon, 2.50 Glamorgan Duke, 3.20 Global Racing, 3.50 Celtic Rising, 4.20 FITZHENRY (NAP), 4.50 Cavalry Master.

DOUBLE: Josies Orders and Fitzhenry.


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