Tell everyone Heaven will come out on top
Back Heaven Help Us @ 4/1 in the 13:30 at Punchestown
A near 33 point profit was a good result for the column all-round yesterday, proving the value of the extra place with Forza Milan ensuring we collected on the each-way multiple - and he drifted out to a BSP of 21. We head into Sunday's racing in good heart with bets at Punchestown and Cheltenham.
The strength in depth in the Irish mares' program is evident for this race, with two Cheltenham festival winners (Dawn Run and Coral Cup) and a Willie Mullins' mare placed in a Grade 1 all lining up - but back over the hurdles sways me to Heaven Help Us. The UK just cannot compete with the Irish on this front.
Heaven Help Us looked tough winning the Paddy Mullins Grade B last February at Punchestown's Dublin Winter Festival as the ground was very testing, but her "worldie" performance came at Prestbury Park when smashing the Coral Cup field by 9L, albeit flattered with a late faller and the fact she was given a total freebie in front. A repeat of these tactics please.
And that's where the front-runner could be crucial in a small field as the first three races yesterday at Punchestown all went to pacesetters that were hard to peg back. Mullins' mare Gauloise hasn't made it recently, but the owner's other mare (Kenny Alexander) is Tellmesomethinggirl has over further (2m4f), but she has to concede 10lb here.
These could all have big targets and we're guessing a bit in terms of who is the fittest, but Paul Hennessy's mare has a good record after a break and if she dominates, with her stamina, she might be a hard one to peg back.
It could be her cup final and her trainer, who is known more for his greyhounds, will certainly enjoy the moment.
Williams to land the big Sunday prize, while Does He Know won't
Back Galice Macalo each-way @ 12/1 in the 14:55 at Cheltenham
We cracked one big handicap yesterday, hopefully we can crack another with the Jane Williams-trained mare Galice Macalo at 12/1 on the Sportsbook with the Extra Place Special.
She looked a bit tricky early in her career, but she won a Stratford novice by a big margin to signal her talent. She was well beaten soon after in Grade 1 company at Sandown and also the Betfair Hurdle, and she has looked a bit in and out.
However, she produced a brilliant round of jumping at Chepstow last March to decimate a moderate bunch of mares with the time more than reasonable.
Her return this term came at the Welsh course's big meeting in October, and she ran a cracker from 131 and travelled superbly in 0-150 company. On that evidence she looks well treated, and with her hurdling as such an asset, she has got a big run in her. And she'll be fitter after that outing too.
The hood is on for the first time, and taking a lead in a big field at pace will suit her down to the ground. With no rain forecast, conditions could be ideal from a low weight with young Chester on board.
Elsewhere on the card I would fancy taking on Does He Know in the place market in the 13:10, as he looks very quirky to me, despite winning for the column last time. I am not massively convinced about the form of some of Kim Bailey's horses either. He's had a pair of winners in the last two weeks, but Sayadam should have won yesterday and this looks a good test and he has a lot on his plate today.