The value on Day 2 at Punchestown....

Last Updated: 27.04.2016

Wednesday, 27th April 2016

Good morning, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • A place return to get things moving….
  • The Road to Riches in the Gold Cup (5.30)….
  • An each-way improver in the Guinness Handicap Chase (6.40)….

A place return to get things moving….

Bamako Moriviere didn’t manage to win the big handicap hurdle on Day 1 of the Punchestown Festival in Ireland but he did hit the frame and earn me a place return – having been backed at 20s on the morning of the race. If you followed me in then I hope you got the price….

Given the 5yo was so badly hampered at the second obstacle – which relegated him to the rear of the field – I am probably fortunate that he finished where he did….

But I don’t complain when things go against me. And I’m certainly not going to pull my face when they go for me….

The bottom line is that the horse did improve for the drying ground – as I’d felt he would. So much so he was able to go past plenty of beaten and slowing horses on the straight – most of which he was giving weight to.

He was never nearer to the winner than at the finish and might want a bit further than the bare 2 miles. But the better ground was the key to a much-improved performance – and he’s one for the notebook for next season.

The Road To Riches in the Gold Cup….

Noel Meade’s ROAD TO RICHES is attractively priced-up at 10s for this afternoon’s showpiece race – the Punchestown Gold Cup (5.30)….

He was 3rd in last season’s Gold Cup at Cheltenham and was expected to go for that again this time round.

But with Don Cossack and Don Poli already earmarked for that race it was Road To Riches who was re-routed to fly the Gigginstown colours in the Ryanair Chase (sponsored by his owner’s airline) over the 2 mile and 5 furlong trip….

I’m not sure Noel Meade was desperately happy about it. And pre-Festival he went public with his view that Road To Riches would be better over the longer trip of the Gold Cup. Given how well he’d run in that big race in 2015, it was hard to argue with Meade….

As it was Road To Riches ran an absolute cracker in the Ryanair – finishing 3rd and getting within 7 lengths of Vautour. The fact that he got out-paced at points suggests the trip was indeed on the short-side for him….

He got beat at Navan after that. And it might be that defeat that accounts for his price today. Fair enough. But that Navan race was also over an inadequate distance and was run on ground that Road To Riches would not have appreciated….

He is still a relatively fresh horse having been given a long mid-season break and, back up to his preferred kind of trip this afternoon on better ground, I take him at the price to prove – however belatedly – that Noel Meade was right before Cheltenham and that his horse is a top-class performer at this longer trip.

An each-way improver in the Guinness Handicap Chase….

The big handicap on today’s card is the Guinness Handicap Chase (6.40)….

I’ll be sticking with the general theme of this week and backing one that I suspect could improve leaps and bounds for this week’s drying ground….

KYLECRUE will be the one carrying my money this evening – at a plenty acceptable each-way price of 20s.

John Ryan’s charge was 3rd in the Cork Grand National over 28f earlier this season and followed that up with another 3rd in the Troytown at Navan over 3 miles. But he didn’t build on those efforts and a sequence of disappointing performances followed across the winter

Ryan dropped him in trip in February. Last time out he dropped him in class and the horse proceeded to put in a career-best performance on my figures. He arrives on the crest of a wave – albeit it a small one….

It’s a long time since this horse saw any ground that wasn’t soft or worse. And I’m mindful that earlier in the horse’s career, his trainer was adamant that better ground suited his horse best. Today he gets that ground for the first time in a long time and I can see him improving again for the better underfoot conditions….

For sure he’s a couple of pounds out of the handicap but I suspect he is better on this ground than his rating suggests and he could be well weighted. Danny Mullins takes the ride. He’s often onboard when the horse leaves the track with decent money and I take his presence as a positive.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going this afternoon….

In the Punchestown Gold Cup (5.30)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – ROAD TO RICHES (10s generally)

In the Guinness Handicap Chase (6.40)....

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – KYLECRUE each-way (20s generally)

That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.


That’s all from me for today. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd