Timeform Irish SmartPlays: Will it be rapture for Raptor?

Willie Mullins: Saddles Raptor at Punchestown this evening

Timeform's Irish team recommend three SmartPlays on a good card of summer jumping at Punchestown this evening....

"Raptor appeals as the one most likely to return to the winner's circle, at the track where he has produced his top four Timeform ratings previously."

Though his recent form figures look uninspiring, there are several reasons to be with Stonemaster in the opening handicap chase for amateur riders. On his last outing he made eye-catching late headway to finish sixth in the Coral Cup; that was from a hurdle mark of 145, yet today he can race off only 117 as, though typically with the Gigginstown Stud operation bought with success over the larger obstacles in mind, he remains a maiden over timber after six (mainly fairly useful) efforts last year. With the step up to today's sort of trip (25f) on decent ground for the first time likely to suit, he looks all set to begin the quest to match, and possibly improve on, his useful hurdles form during the coming months.

Though there are some familiar-looking names in the minor chase that follows, very few of the eight competitors are in any sort of form and of the ones who are, Raptor appeals as the one most likely to return to the winners' circle, at the track where he has produced his top four Timeform ratings previously. The seven-year-old grey was touched off by a nose at the course earlier in the month, a mistake at the last possibly the difference between defeat and victory, with one of today's main rivals, Uncle Tom Cobley, already held when falling. Provided there is no repeat of that fencing error, he looks primed to gain his third course victory this evening.

By far the most tricky puzzle to solve on the card is the penultimate race, a big field handicap hurdle, where several of the runners are either in decent form or look reasonably treated, though it could be interesting that Arthur Moore pitches four-year-old ex-French Authinger into the race on only his third appearance over timber. The form of the race he won at Tramore last month has been franked, both second and third that day having won since, and an initial mark of 113 may well look lenient in time.

Timeform SmartPlays

Back Stonemaster in the 17:55
Back Raptor in the 18:25
Back Authinger in the 20:25

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