Timeform Irish Smartplays: Mullins domination to continue

Willie Mullins looks set for another winner at Punchestown today

Another three selections for the final day of the Punchestown Festival....

Willie Mullins has once again been carrying all before him at this year's festival

Willie Mullins has once again been carrying all before him at this year's festival and Quel Esprit (15:15) looks to hold an excellent chance in the Punchestown Gold Cup this afternoon. Having been plagued by jumping problems during his novice season, Quel Esprit has developed into a high-class chaser this term and made it a hat-trick of wins when taking the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown in February. With stamina doubts over today's main rival Rubi Light, he rates a good bet to add to his trainer's already impressive tally at this meeting.


Next up is the Alan King-trained Balder Succes (16:30), who should be able to gain compensation for his early fall in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Prior to the aforementioned exit, he had looked a potentially smart juvenile hurdler in winning his first four starts. The testing conditions are unlikely to pose much of a problem for Balder Success (won on heavy ground at Plumpton in January) and, if there is a silver lining to his Cheltenham mishap, he comes here having not had a hard race this season.


Last but by no means least is Up For The Match (17:40), who looks set to land his hat-trick in the finale. It would be fair to say that the John Kiely-trained gelding did not exactly set the world alight in maiden hurdles, indeed, he failed to finish higher than sixth in three attempts. However, since being switched to handicaps he has made rapid improvement, winning his last two starts at Gowran and Naas. He should handle the likely conditions and, given he is open to further improvement, he looks to go sure to go very close.

Timeform SmartPlays
Back Quel Esprit @ 3.185/40 in the 15:15
Back Balder Success @ 2.915/8 in the 16:30
Back Up For The Match @ 6.05/1 in the 17:40
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