The master trainer of Ireland Willie Mullins has been head and shoulders above his rivals at Punchestown this week and looks to be On His Own again today
With a five timer on Thursday and another brilliant win for Hurricane Fly yesterday the Irish champion trainer has had a week to remember. At the beginning of the week there was talk of his horses being out of form, well how wrong that could have been. Today he has at least six stand out chances at the Festival and sends over a real hope of taking the Bet 365 Gold Cup at Sandown this afternoon. The one time favourite for the Grand National On His Own heads the field in (3.45) and should make recompense for his fall at Aintree. The Boyne Hurdle winner is a cut above the rest and has been lightly raced this season. He is sure to be ready for a big show in the chase this afternoon. Crockford expects to see Mullins back in the winners enclosure on the final day of the Festival with On His Own, Shakervilz, Aupcharlie, Tarla, Diakali and Rockyaboya.
The Bet 365 Gold Cup joint favourite Away We Go makes the trip across the Irish Sea for Willie Mullins, but is certain to have stiff opposition from classy novices in the form of the Cheltenham Festival winner Same Difference and Nicky Henderson’s Hadrian’s Approach. Tim Vaughan’s Saint Are comes alive in the spring and did not have a bad run in the Grand National and looks an attractive price at 25/1.
The former champion chaser Finian’s Rainbow takes on Sanctuaire in the Celebration Chase. Sanctuaire was impressive last year when winning this two mile chase but there are signs that Finian’s Rainbow is recapturing some of his old zest for racing. If the Henderson horse has he will be hard to beat. Wishful Thinking will be in the mix too if his breathing does not trouble him.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – On His Own (Punchestown Festival 3.45)
With the form that Mullins has been in at the Festival for the last few days everyone of his runners will gain the punters attention. This former Grand National favourite looked as good as ever when winning on his return this season in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan. If his jumping is in good order he is certain for victory.
Crockford’s Whisper – Bancnuanaheirann e/w (Ripon 2.20)
Fourth in last year’s Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, he will be fitter for his run at Doncaster in the Lincoln. His form towers above the others in the field today. This whisper is certain to make a bold show at an attractive each way price of 14/1.
Archer’s Selection – Aljamaaheer (Leicester 3.55)
When looking at the King Richard III Stakes, Archer would not have looked past this classy colt. The ability that this Roger Varian horse showed in Group and Listed contests at Ascot, Newmarket and Goodwood last season would not have been missed by the champion jockey.
Crockford’s gambles on the final day of the Punchestown Festival and across the courses today:
Punchestown – Shakervilz (2.30), Aupcharlie (3.10), On His Own (3.45), Tarla (4.25), Diakali (5.00), Il Fenomeno (5.35), Martello Tower (6.10) and Rockyaboya (6.40)
Sandown – Calculated Risk (1.30), Ranjaan e/w (2.05), Finian’s Rainbow (2.40), Thomas Chippendale (3.15), Same Difference e/w, Hadrian’s Approach e/w and Saint Are e/w (3.50)
Ripon – Bancnuanaheirann e/w (2.20), Montaff e/w (2.55), The Art Of Racing (4.40) and Havana Cooler (5.15)
Leicester – Aljamaaheer (3.55) and Continuum (5.05)
Market Rasen – Golden Hoof (1.55), Riguez Dancer (4.45) and Oscar Hoof (5.20)
(Featured Photograph – Same Difference after his win at the Cheltenham Festival by Stuart Rice)