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Punchestown Bumper preview

It might be extremely wet at Punchestown this week but that doesn't stop the winners flowing. @jimgilch is back with his look at Friday's Bumper. 

Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper (4-6yo) Winner Euros 29,400; 24 runners

 2m1f Heavy.

SPRING HARVEST?

A 24 runner bumper won't be many punters' first port of call, however I think this valuable fillies (and mares) bumper offers one strong bet. The now chewed up ground will be desperate, even without further rain, and the winner will have to stay further than the 17 furlongs of the race.

I need to start with the bang in form Willie Mullins team. Everything the stable runs merits respect and his Champagne Fever followed up a courageous performance when winning the Cheltenham bumper with this week's equally game success in the winners bumper here. And he unleashed a previous points winner here in the shape of Flash of Genius, who is certainly one to follow, in another bumper.

It hardly needs saying that the stable targets this meeting, with four winners on Wednesday, and he has three runners in this.

All three are unraced, so I'm guessing that Patrick Mullins has selected Tasitiocht. This daughter of French Derby runner up Oscar should have plenty stamina, while Katie Walsh is on the year younger Glens Melody, by King's Theatre. Both need watching in the market, while the stable's third runner, Chiltern Hills, by Beneficial, actually looks interesting with its stamina laden pedigree and might handle conditions best of the three.It's interesting that Alan King appears to highly try the Uttoxeter seventh, Golden Electra, here, also by King's Theatre, (no relation to the trainer), but it's hard to think the form will be good enough.

Money for any of the unraced horses would merit attention, of course, and the pair that might be most significant would be La Belle Amie or Peter Fahey's Four Wives, but I am looking for the winner to come from those with bumper, as opposed to just points, experience. I've largely passed over the points form here, and would be surprised if it matched a couple with racecourse experience and quite high class form.It's not only Mullins that sets us a quandary, but Robert Tyner is another trainer to do so. Perhaps Way up in the Air's best run was on debut when third behind the subsequently decent Hats and Heels and the booking of Derek O'Connor certainly takes the eye, (Wontbelongnow about 7 lengths further back in fifth), but his other runner, the five year old mare  LUGHNASA, makes more appeal. On debut beat Director's Forum from the Jessie Harrington stable, and that horse franked the form when a fine second here in a warmer race earlier this week. Ground conditions will be totally different here for this daughter of Westerner and she is not absolutely guaranteed to handle the surface, however purely on the form of that excellent debut performance at Cork, she has to be the selection. The Flying Doc made a fair debut when third behind Vickie the other day, and the Mangan team always merit plenty of respect in these contests, but a bigger danger to the selection is surely Lady of Glencoe. It was a fair debut only, when fifth of thirteen behind Darwins Theory on soft ground, but that was left way behind when an excellent second tpo previous winner Summer Star last time. 

The booking of Nina Carberry completes the puzzle nicely for lady of Glencoe and Summer Star ran a fine fourth in unsuitable conditions on Wednesday in the most prestigious of this week's bumpers, the winners race.

 

That is probably better form than Directors Forum's aforementioned second this week. However my reservations are two. This is a daughter of Marju and the strike rate of 5% on heavy ground for his progeny, and, together with Mr Prospector on the dam's side, I am not sure this stamina sapping surface, or 17 furlong trip, are ideal.  

CONCLUSIONS:Money for any of the three Mullins runners (or Alan King's raider) needs the utmost respect and though Tasitiocht is the likeliest of his three I have a (personal) liking for Chiltern Hills's pedigree, but in these testing conditions the advantage of racecourse experience is the decisive factor for me, especially so late in the season. there's no obvious pace in the race, and i wouldn't be surprised if one of the Mullins trio were to make the running, but with so many unraced horses, it's difficult to get a real idea as to how this will be run.Of those with that experience I have narrowed it down to two, Lady of Glencoe and LUGHNASA. Even though Derek O'Connor rides the 'other' Tyner runner, Way up in the Air, I feel that beating a good yardstick in Director's Forum on debut showed Lughnasa well up to winning one of the week's slightly weaker bumpers on paper. The rider has around 300 rides and is good value for his 3lbs.Lughnasa (which means August, and represents an ancient Harvest Festival - bad header pun!) I feel has stronger stamina in its pedigree than Lady of Glencoe, and I just suspect it has the better chance of the two to handle the ground. Even though the four year old will carry 7lbs less,(after jockey's claim), I don't think it is quite enough to compensate for the likely extra strength of the year older mare.

Both of the key races were run in good times, and both horses put in good sectionals when making their runs from well back, so that lends further substance to the idea that the form of both is solid.

LUGHNASA is very much the main bet, though small combination forecasts with Lady of Glencoe, and if there is money, whichever is the best backed of the Mullins trio, might not go amiss. At the time of typing no proper market has formed unfortunately, though very early exchange indications (potentially unreliable!) suggest Tasitiocht might just edge favouritism. 
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