Rhys Williams has analysed the opening day of the Punchestown Festival and fancies two at big prices in the banks race.
"That was his first run for a long way time on good ground and it may be that the switch to better ground suited him which is encouraging for today."
Frequent runner in banks races
Youcannotbeserious heads the market for the Fr Sean Breen Memorial on the opening day on the Punchestown Festival and he will be tough to beat if he's in the same form as when last seen in this race in 2019. That run came off a 527-day absence so a long break isn't an issue for him but whether he still retains that ability is an unknown. Rather than try to beat him, I think the without the favourite market is a more appealing option given the frailties of those at the head of that market.
Saint Benedict heads this market but he's failed to take advantages of some good opportunities recently. Given his trainer, his lack of experience over the banks is unlikely to be an issue but he doesn't convince me and he may have finished behind both of my two selections on separate occasions earlier this season.
Vital Island is second favourite and he's got plenty of form over banks courses including when being given the race at Lingstown earlier this season after Better B Quick took the wrong course. However, it's the horse who finished one place behind him that day who appeals today, given that Vital Island is 4/1 while Singing Banjo is 12/1.
Singing Banjo is slow and not an easy ride but he's shown in the past that he's got the ability to run well in banks races and this is a particularly weak one of those. He finished behind Youcannotbeserious when third in the 2019 renewal and ran well behind Vital Island at Lingstown. He got outpaced towards the end of the back straight on the final circuit but finished strongly and it's that stamina that could prove crucial today.
Plenty of his rivals have looked weak finishers, particularly in their races this season, while Singing Banjo tends to be doing his best work late on in races. When running over C&D in February he was under pressure from a long way out but plugged on gamely to go past quite a few of today's rivals who were tiring late on.
Singing Banjo has since run well in a hunter chase at Downpatrick, a race also contested by Saint Benedict. That rival looked to be fading approaching the last when he unseated with Singing Banjo only a few lengths behind and plugging on in customary fashion.
On his latest start, he was easily outclassed in a very strong hunter chase at Fairyhouse and now returns to far more suitable company.
Singing Banjo may not be completely reliable but if he's on a going day then he will run well and any 8/1 or bigger appeals.
More talented than form figures suggest
Three Loud Knocks is the joint biggest priced runner in the w/o the favourite market and I think that's madness given the ability he's shown this season.
Prior to this season he was off the track for 882 days and unsurprisingly he needed his first run back. He improved on that when finishing fifth to subsequent maiden hurdle winner Brayhill and was then running very well when stepped up to Open company at Turtulla when slipping on the final bend. He may have finished ahead of Saint Benedict that day but for that mishap and the first two home are reliable performers in Open company.
He was disappointing next time and his form since has been patchy but he has shown bits of ability including last time at Cork in a strong hunter chase. He was no match for the likes of Warriors Tale and Winged Leader that day but he was only beaten 18½ lengths and I wouldn't fancy too many others in this race to be capable of achieving that.
That was his first run for a long way time on good ground and it may be that the switch to better ground suited him which is encouraging for today. The only other run in his career on good ground resulted in him finishing third behind White Moon and Knockoura in a maiden and that isn't bad form.
This is Three Loud Knocks' first attempt over a banks course and it's possible that he just won't take to it but given he's run to a better level this season than most of this field, he shouldn't be anywhere near 80/1 in the without market and any 16/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021