Horse Racing Tips

Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Three To Back At Punchestown

Punchestown stages the sole Irish meeting on Sunday

"She wasted little time returning to form when winning a Tipperary handicap by 10 lengths last time"

Mark Milligan is hoping to build on last week's excellent Curragh meeting as the attention switches to the jumps on Sunday...

After a successful weekend on the punting front at the Curragh Guineas meeting last week, our attention switches back to the jumps on Sunday, where Punchestown stages an interesting - if somewhat low key - card.

Amateur lady riders handicap hurdles wouldn't ordinarily be my punting vehicle of choice, but there appears to be a reasonably handicapped horse in just such a contest at 15:05.

Marshalled is a solid handicap chaser who won twice in 2021 from marks of 106 and 113, but there's no reason I can see why he shouldn't be equally effective over the smaller obstacles.

A winner over hurdles back in 2019, he's spent most of his time over fences since then but produced a solid hurdling comeback when third at Clonmel on his comeback, returning from six months off there.

The selection gets to race off the same mark here, a mark that could well prove lenient given his exploits over fences in the last couple of years. He also has the benefit of being ridden by one of the most experienced and successful riders in the field.

In short, there's plenty to like about Marshalled's chances.

Sweet on Sting's chances

The handicap hurdle at 15:40 features Direct Image, who has been in the form of her life and is seeking a five-timer here.

Having started her winning spree back in September off a mark of 87, she now finds herself running off the much loftier perch of 112, and I was keen to take her on despite the fact she still seems to be improving at the age of nine.

Sweet Sting hasn't been back with the Michael Bowe yard too long, and she wasted little time returning to form when winning a Tipperary handicap by 10 lengths last time.

She's been bumped up 8lb for that success but still retains plenty of handicapping scope back with this yard having been placed off a mark of 116 in her first spell there.

A rather fruitless campaign for Liam Cusack has resulted in Sweet Sting's mark dropping considerably and she remains a well-handicapped horse now she's back with a trainer who knows how to get the best out of her.

Hoping Attack will Fire his best shot

Our final selection comes in the handicap chase at 16:50, where the relatively lightly raced Fire Attack takes on some more exposed opponents.

Joseph O'Brien's son of Westerner has only had three starts over fences and was thought good enough to take his chance in Grade 1 company on just his second outing over the larger obstacles.

That came in the Faugheen at Limerick on Boxing Day where Fire Attack seemed to suffer as much from inexperience as anything else, proving none too fluent before eventually unseating when well held at the last.

However, he got back on track with a good second to Ciel De Neige at Punchestown when last seen in December, jumping much better in the main, his only mistake coming when held by the promising winner at the last.

He looks a reasonably well-handicapped horse on that running, an opening mark of 137 in this sphere looking more than workable.

Of course, there is still the possibility his relative lack of experience could prove his undoing against some battle-hardened opponents, though this isn't a particularly big field and I'd be hopeful that he'll cope well enough.

The likelihood is there could still be plenty more to come from Fire Attack, and I'd much rather be with one who hasn't fully shown his hand in this sort of contest than some of the more exposed types.

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L

Staked: 189
Returns: 236.96
P/L: +47.96


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