Three horses to back on Day 3 at Punchestown, including an outsider for the feature
So it's day three of the Punchestown Festival and Willie Mullins needs to win both Grade Ones to realistically have any hope of overhauling Gordon Elliott.
The feature race is the Ladbrokes-sponsored Champion Stayers Hurdle. Willie Mullins' Nichols Canyon is the favourite, and I can see why. He has a great record at the track and he won the Stayers Hurdle in Cheltenham. The runner up to him that day, Lil Rockerfella is back to re-oppose, as is Unowhatimeanharry, who was expected to win that day. But something is telling me to look outside the market principals here and so I am going to roll the dice that Footpad, another Mullins horse, will successfully make the step up to three miles today.
In the 4.15, lots of money is coming for Sizing Platinum to give the owners another trip to the winner's enclosure, where they've spent most of the week. Jessica Harrington's Don't Touch It can't be ignored with the stable in such great form and this horse coming first or second on his last three outings. For me however, I am going to go with Tully East, who won a 20-runner handicap at the Cheltenham festival. Afterwards his trainer said he'd hope to run him in graded company so he should maintain his progress on an upwards curve.
In the 7.45 I like the look of Liz Doyle's Catwalk King. This is a red hot bumper, where the bookmakers believe Next Destination sets the standard. And he does, but he's no value. I thought Catwalk King was very impressive last time, plus he has the talented Jamie Codd on board to cause an upset.