Two Grade one races on day three of the festival and punters have been sniffing out the value in Paddy Power’s book all morning.
The opener looks hotter than Michelle Keegan with Paddy going 10/1 the field. Barry Geraghty has ridden a winner both days so far and gets the leg up on Machnicholson for Jessica Harrington who runs under a 6lb penalty after winning at Kilbeggan. Joint favourite Vive La France is the dark horse and makes his debut for Tony Martin after being bought in from France.
Ned Buntline (7/2) nearly gave Noel Meade his second winner in five year’s at Cheltenham – after Very Wood gave him his first a few hours earlier – and has been the buzz horse all morning to gain quick compensation. AP McCoy takes over from Paul Carberry. The Racing Post’s Pricewise is all over Sizing Machine (10/1) while the consistent Mallowney (12/1) wears a first-time hood in a race where Paddy’s going Money back on the second and third-placed runners.
Duke of Lucca gave Matt Chapman followers on the PP Blog a 12/1 touch on Grand National day and pitches up again here in the 4m chase after finishing fourth to stablemate Balthazar King at Cheltenham. There’s not much juice left in his price at 15/8 but Enda Bolger and Nina Carberry teamed up with Be Positive on the opening day and Quantitativeeasing has been nibbled at 4/1 for the pair.
Having already made history at Cheltenham with a sixth mares hurdle triumph, the supposedly pregnant Quevega (1/1) goes for a five-timer in the World Hurdle in the day’s feature race and is by far the biggest loser in the book.
But Wales’s best export since Imogen Thomas At Fishers Cross (4/1) has plenty of talent despite a stop-start season and if back to his best can push the wonder mare all the way. Fingal Bay steps back to Grade One company after his Pertemps Final win at Cheltenham.
Inis Meain’s last two efforts have been on the Flat but eventually got his jumping together with a win over 2m 7f at Navan and return to 3m here. At 11/2 there’s enough room in the price to think he will get his front legs off the ground at the same time but Barry Geraghty rides Our Man Zebo (11/2) who was second to Lots of Memories at Fairyhouse.
Champagne Fever (11/8) got chinned in the Arkle Chase and was a decent winner of a novice chase here last November but did flop when favourite for the Novice Hurdle last season after his Supreme Novice win. year. Pricewise has put up Felix Younger (7/1) as a live alternative to the fav and English challenger Balder Success (11/4) who’s unbeaten this term including beating Trifolium by four and a half lengths into third at Aintree.
This could be a Willie Mullins’ benefit with three of the 14 runners trained by the Irish champion. Ruby Walsh has opted for Urticaire ahead of stablemate Vicky De L’Oasis (P Townend) and Florishwells D’ete (AP McCoy) and that has seen the highest number of bets at 9/4f. But Davy Russell’s mount Morga is attracting admiring each-way glances at 14/1 as is Barry Geraghty’s mount Bridgequarter Girl at 7/1.
The unbeaten Tell Us More (4/5f) was a 12-length winner at Gowran Park in March and looks like making this a one-horse book in early trading as Team Mullins looks for his third bumper winner of the week.