The Timeform Irish team highlight three selections from this afternoon's quality meeting at Punchestown where conditions are likely to be very testing.....
'...the 10 lb rise he received for his impressive victory at Bellewstown may not be enough to stop Rawnaq following up this afternoon.'
The maiden hurdle at 14:45 looks no more than an ordinary affair at first glance, but a closer look reveals a few that should go on to better things in time, none more so than Hot Prospect. Formerly trained by Roger Varian on the Flat, Hot Prospect developed into a smart performer and looked an exciting prospect for hurdles when he joined his current yard. However, his hurdling debut didn't go according to plan, making several mistakes and reportedly finishing lame when down the field at Fairyhouse in January. He didn't run after that and ultimately shaped as if in need of the outing when reappearing on the Flat last month. That effort should have put him right for today and, while testing ground is a bit of an unknown, he did win a competitive handicap on the Flat on soft going and will go close if able to reproduce his Flat form over hurdles at the second attempt.
Rawnaq (15:15) may not have reached the heights that Hot Prospect did on the level, but he has already shown fairly useful form over hurdles, landing a 14-runner handicap at Bellewstown in August by 9 lengths from Anoosou. Rawnaq has followed that effort with two creditable placed efforts on the Flat last month and, though he is unproven in ground this testing, he has proven effective on soft and the 10 lb rise he received for his impressive victory at Bellewstown may not be enough to stop Rawnaq following up this afternoon.
Dog Barrel Hill (16:45) didn't exactly set the world alight when tried over fences last term, indeed he failed to threaten the judge on four occasions, but the switch to hurdles seemed to do the trick and he showed fair form when grinding out a victory in an admittedly weak maiden hurdle at Limerick last December. Dog Barrel Hill has not been seen since finishing a respectable fifth in a handicap at the same course in May off a mark of 107, he reverts to fences off a mark of just 90 this afternoon and, given he is a dual point winner, he should have more to offer in this sphere.
Timeform Irish SmartPlays:
All at Punchestown
Back Hot Prospect in the 14:45
Back Rawnaq in the 15:15
Back Dog Barrel Hill in the 16:45
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