BIG BEN can strike for Gordon Elliott in Punchestown’s 4.55.
BEN DUNDEE has been given help by the handicapper since finishing midfield in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
But the six-year-old had a valid excuse for that modest effort as he was blocked a couple of times in the hurly-burly of that race.
He was still going well jumping the second-last before another bump ended his chances and Davy Russell looked after him.
Don’t worry too much about that because he does have good form in a big-field handicap having beaten 21 rivals here in October with plenty left in the tank.
That was a pretty impressive victory as he was on the bridle coming up to the final flight and quickened nicely away from his rivals.
That was followed by good runs at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown over this trip. He stays a bit further but there will be a real pace on today so that will be an asset.
Ten Ten is very interesting being thrown into the deep end for this handicap debut. He had a lot more up his sleeve than the half-length winning margin at Down Royal last time and should improve for it.
It’s a slight worry that he’s been off four months since then but he’s on what could be a very handy mark.
Lagostovegas is always popular and finished ahead of Ben Dundee in the County Hurdle. He really enjoyed the testing ground there and it won’t be quite so much in his favour today.
Saying all that he’s on the same mark as his Cheltenham run and will be going for his life as Willie Mullins chases every euro in his title fight with Gordon Elliott.
PALOMA BLUE can break the Mullins-Elliott stranglehold for Henry de Bromhead in the Champion Novice Hurdle at 4.20.
He ran a cracker when fourth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out.
Wizard Of Odds’ top tips for Punchestown
Considering he got lit up by the atmosphere and didn’t settle, it was a fine effort to be beaten less than three lengths.
That was his second good run at Grade 1 level after chasing home Samcro at Leopardstown in February. Trip, track and ground should all be fine and he’s improving.
Getabird will be all the rage after winning at Fairyhouse last time but we’ll have to see how he likes this better ground and it was very heavy that day.
The Wizard has tried to conjure up one to beat DOUVAN in the Champion Chase (5.30) but it would be a mystery if he doesn’t win it.
It’s a slight worry that he took a tumble behind Altior in the Queen Mother at Cheltenham. On the plus side, it looked as though he was going to give the eventual winner a real run for his money.
Victory came without coming off the bridle here in February and he has still to taste defeat away from Prestbury Park.
He won this pulling a bus 12 months ago and can follow up.
Stablemate Min looks the main danger. He was a good second at Aintree last time after chasing home Altior at the Festival. We know he likes this trip and has gone well around here before.
SHATTERED LOVE was one good jump away from beating Al Boum Photo at Fairyhouse last time and can turn the tables in the 6.40.
She tanked along for most of the race before a slow leap at the final fence meant she had to pick again along the short run-in.
That gave Willie Mullins’ six-year-old the chance to nick it late on.