Punchestown Festival 2022: Day 4 Spot Plays

April 28th, 2022

Day four at the Punchestown Festival April 29 is Champion Hurdle day, featuring the unbeaten mare Honeysuckle. A second Grade 1 event, a Grade 2, and a rich handicap are among the other highlights.

Here are some spot plays for Day 4 at Punchestown.

Race 2: EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase, 2 5/8 miles, novice steeplechasers

A competitive handicap in which the in-form Willie Mullins has five of the 15 runners. His top two, #1 Blue Sari and #2 Fighter Allen, both look very good chances. One that might be worth looking at to beat them, however, could be the improving #11 Gevrey, who comes into the race off an impressive victory at Fairyhouse April 17. Also worth considering is #8 Lieutenant Command, who unseated his rider when looking likely to challenge at Naas Feb. 27.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #11 Gevrey
  • $2 exacta: 1, 2, 8, 11

Race 3: Lady Francis Flood Mares Chase (G2), 2 5/8 miles, mares, steeplechasers

Just six mares line up for this Grade 2 contest, but it includes #1 Elimay, the Mares’ Chase (G2) winner at Cheltenham, and #2 Scarlet And Dove, who was about a half-length behind in third that day. Elimay could start an odds-on favorite, but it’s worth noting that Scarlet And Dove had to concede three pounds to Elimay at Cheltenham, and they are at level weights here.

Cheltenham runner-up Pink Legend isn’t running, but #3 Daphne Moon, who beat Pink Legend by eight lengths at her most recent start (a three-mile contest which admittedly may not have suited Pink Legend), is running. #4 Dolcita should also be considered; she hasn’t taken on graded company but has looked good to date.

In an even contest, Scarlet And Dove looks to be at odds worth taking.

  • $20 win/$20 place: #2 Scarlet and Dove

Race 4: Champion Hurdle (G1), 2 miles, open hurdlers

Another six-horse field, but this should be more clear-cut. About the only way that dual Cheltenham Champion Hurdle (G1) winner #6 Honeysuckle, unbeaten in 15 hurdle starts, was likely to be challenged here was if the ultra-impressive Supreme Novices Hurdle (G1) winner Constitution Hill came over to challenge. But with him staying in Nicky Henderson’s boxes in England, Honeysuckle will need bad luck, a fall, or some other strange event to be defeated. Exotics are probably the way to go to make any money, and in that sense, #3 Saint Roi and #4 Teahupoo look the most likely to finish second.

  • $30 win: #6 Honeysuckle
  • $3 trifecta: 6 with 3, 4 with all

Race 5: Champion Novice Hurdle (G1), 2 3/8 miles, novice hurdlers

Heading the local market is #5 State Man, the impressive County Hurdle (G3) winner at Cheltenham and a horse with a big reputation. But #6 Three Stripe Life should not be ignored; he ran a good race against the highly-rated Sir Gerhard at Cheltenham and followed up by winning the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (G1) at Aintree. Spare a thought also for #4 Kilcruit, third to the outstanding Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle (G1) at Cheltenham; the dual Punchestown winner wasn’t far from second-placed Jonbon that day and will be a chance if he stays 2 3/8 miles.

  • $10 win/$30 place: #6 Three Stripe Life
  • $2 box trifecta: 4, 5, 6