Day Two of the Punchestown Festival sees three Grade 1s as well as some competitive handicap action, and Timeform's Irish team have come up with two win bets and a place lay which we hope can turn a profit.....
"Fahamore was value for plenty more than the winning distance when beating Whiskey Hall at Limerick on Boxing Day and hasn't been seen to best effect on either start since"
J. P. McManus holds a strong hand in the opening handicap hurdle, The Bear Trap, Ten Bob and Fahamore (15:40) all viable contenders, and it's the last-named of that trio who gets the nod. He was value for plenty more than the winning distance when beating Whiskey Hall at Limerick on Boxing Day and hasn't been seen to best effect on either start since, turned out quickly and taken very wide when third at the same track later in December and then travelling well for a long way before lack of a recent outing told at Fairyhouse earlier this month. The drop back to two and a half miles looks a positive move and he seems sure to give a good account.
Sous Les Cieux shaped well at Cheltenham and could be suited by the step up to three miles, but he looks plenty short enough at current prices, and in Ipsos du Berlais (16:55) he's up against a rival with a similar level of form who faces what seem sure to prove his optimum conditions. Ipsos du Berlais looked a really exciting prospect in bad ground over the winter, not far behind Boston Bob in a Grade 1 at Navan and then winning a minor event at Punchestown. He wasn't so effective on a sounder surface at Cheltenham or Aintree but could easily get back on the up returned to soft ground, while in-running players should note that he tends to hit a flat spot before responding well to pressure, so may trade at attractive odds during the race.
Tranquil Sea (18:40) was a Grade 1 winner in his pomp and has already racked up a couple of Grade 2s this season, but despite those achievements the impression gleaned from the majority of his recent displays is that he isn't quite the foce of old, which leaves him facing a stiff task off a mark of 154. There are plenty of viable alternatives in what looks a trappy handicap as well, Osana, Carrigmartin and Bob Lingo all look on workable marks for J.P. McManus, Raptor has some untapped potential at two and a half miles and Foildubh is a likeable type who should give his running.
Back Fahamore in the 15:40
Back Ipsos du Berlais in the 16:55
Place lay Tranquil Sea in the 18:40