Timeform Irish SmartPlays: Keep the faith with Clonbanan Lad

Today's action comes from Punchestown

Plenty of exciting novices get their season underway at Punchestown this afternoon and we have three win selections on a strong card.

"The in-form de Bromhead team are sure have him well schooled for this and Clonbanan Lad should have too much class for Operating".

The only handicap chase this afternoon looks a tricky one to solve with sound recent form thin on the ground, the notable exception being Bangonform, though he looks vulnerable after a hefty rise, and it could be worth taking a chance on Sensational Sema (13:45) from a lenient mark. Tony Martin's runner was much improved when landing a Killarney handicap hurdle last term, and though he hasn't made much of an impact since switched to fences, he looks very well treated from a mark of just 95. This is arguably his easiest task over fences so far, and with the step up in trip and booking of Ruby Walsh further positives, he looks overpriced.

The first hurdle race on the card looks to provide Clonbanan Lad (14:20) with an excellent opportunity to make a successful start over hurdles, and for his new trainer Henry de Bromhead. He showed smart form in bumpers in 2011/12 when in the care of Michael O' Connor, winning at Limerick and Naas (beat Mozoltov 12 lengths) and had excuses for disappointing on his final two outings. The in-form de Bromhead team are sure have him well schooled for this and Clonbanan Lad should have too much class for Operating.

Last time D'Albain (15:25) let followers of this column down when failing to justify good support at Cork, but he remains well handicapped in this sphere given his chase form and is given a chance to recoup losses this afternoon. The extra furlong on a more galloping track should play to his strengths, and this promises to be a more truly-run race with several of today's rivals usually ridden prominently. Ruby Walsh keeps the faith, presumably having had the chance to ride Underdefloorboards, and 4.57/2 is a fair price for him to make amends.

Recommendations
All at Punchestown

Back Sensational Sema in the 13:45
Back Clonbanan Lad in the 14:20
Back Last Time d'Albain in the 15:25


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