Tony Calvin's top tips for Sunday: Side with this 25-1 chance at Punchestown

By Tony Calvin
Sat 9 Feb 2019

It is obviously a depressing time for British racing at the moment, but it is important to keep some perspective.

If needs be, a couple of weeks or so away from domestic racing and betting is not a great hardship.

If it is a matter of days, and we are back on Wednesday, then all the better for those financially affected by the shutdown.

I simply can’t get worked up about something out of my control and, frankly, about which I know next to nothing.

At least we have a good Punchestown card on Sunday to ponder over, so let’s crack on. It is not full of betting opportunities, from what I can see anyway, but we have two to get stuck into.

3.20 Punchestown: Waaheb each-way at 25-1 each way with William Hill (five places)

All eyes will be on Josies Orders v Ballycasey in the opening Cross Country Chase, and there is a cracking Listed novices’ hurdle at 2.20pm.

The latter contest is particularly enthralling as you can make a case for six of the seven-strong field, not that makes chiselling out a bet very easy.

Gordon Elliott has won the last three renewals of this race and it is very interesting that he nominated the race for Chosen Mate immediately after he won at odds of 14-1 at Fairyhouse in January.

This is something that I like to see from a trainer, that they have already thought ahead and have a plan.

But both he and Prince D’Aubrelle have 4lb penalties and they could have their work cut out trying to give Willie Mullins’ La Sorelita, who looks a fair price at around 13-2, 19lb.

Mind you, as I said, there are another three in here that have winning claims, so I can’t get excited by the contest as a betting heat.

However, lets get on to the opening bet of the column in the shape of Waaheb. Of the opposition, I am most concerned about recent Limerick third Sea Scorpion, who is a decent alternative at around 10-1.

Waaheb has come down 10lb in the weights after some modest starts recently, but I saw a bit more promise over 2m here last time.

He steps up to 3m here but that could work in his favour. One of his better efforts has come over this trip, and he ran a cracker at 66-1 when third to Uradel and Limini over 2m1f on the Flat at Galway in August.

He wore blinkers at Galway, and they are back on here after he was tried in cheekpieces last time, and I think he could make his presence felt off a lenient hurdles rating of 103.

The jockey is very inexperienced, which is an obvious concern, but Waaheb is still getting a few quid of my money to win and place.

4.20pm Punchestown: Kilkishen each-way at 13-2 with William Hill (six places)

Impact Factor could take a fair bit of beating in the 3.50pm, but the big betting race of the day is the BoyleSports Grand National Trial.

The price is not the flashiest for a 17-runner handicap chase, but Kilkishen looks to have a good profile for a race of this nature.

He did it really well from the front last time, especially as he was taken on a few times during the race, and the way in which he finished off his race when winning over 3m1f at Fairyhouse last time suggests this longer trip will suit him.

Indeed, Shark Hanlon was talking in terms of the Eider Chase after that win and, although 1lb out of the handicap here, I would be reasonably confident that he can still be competitive off a 9lb higher mark than Fairyhouse.

I will be honest, I do not know if Sean Bowen can do 9st 10lb but I am presuming he can given he has been booked.

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