Early Bird – 25th April

A winner with the well backed Point And Shoot though went so close to the double with Vision Des Flos who kicked on clear only to get picked up late on by a 25/1 chance. E/w bet landed there also though so close to a perfect day.

4:55 Punchestown – Brahma Bull

Todays racing has already shown you need to be very wary in novice races. Inexperienced horses are now having their 6th, 7th or more races of the season and they are just not up to coping with that amount of racing. Especially if you have been racing at the highest level since September and November. Unfortunately you can not predict if nor when a horse may find the racing too much. With that in mind though it isn’t the time to go ploughing in to short prices on novices. Instead I would rather take a pot chance on a horse like Brahma Bull. Four from four going into Cheltenham, having been off the track for 125 days. Never really got competitive, lacking the pace to go with them and just plodding on the one pace. However, had already won over just shy of 3m showing tendencies of jumping right handed. Still lightly raced this year, could well benefit from the better ground, the step back up in trip and improved fitness from that Cheltenham run. Its price is about the same for this as it was at Cheltenham despite a lot against it in a tougher race. I expect an improved display here with its price looking value.

0.5pt e/w Brahma Bull @ 25/1 Betfred, Paddy and Betfair

5:30 Punchestown – Edwulf & Outlander

These Irish staying chasers invariably take it in turns to win. You never see something go through the season winning all before them. It’s just not what happens with the races being so competitive. With that in mind I have to bet on prices. Both Edwulf and Outlander are second and joint third on official ratings, are still young enough that they can quickly return to form and look value considering their price. Edwulf looks well suited to a good sized field where it can sit in behind and put its stamina to good use as it did at Leopardstown two runs back. Since disappointed in the Gold Cup, but that was still only six weeks after a phenomenal run, well above anything it has produced in its career which was also only two runs after breaking down in the NH Chase when in with every chance. Another good break could of done the horse well and is still lightly raced on the year.

Outlander is just one of them horses that pops up, often when you least expect it. Will excuse its last two runs as it has never gone well at Cheltenham whilst it hasn’t ever shown its best form on heavy ground either thus excusing its run in the Irish National. Prior to those runs its form was very good, beating the favourite Road To Respect back in November before a close third to it over Christmas. this horse is still capable on its day and in a race where anything can happen it shouldn’t be ruled out.

0.75pt e/w Edwulf @ 10/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 4 places

0.5pt e/w Outlander @ 20/1 Paddy and Betfair 1/4 odds 3 places

2:10 Epsom – Boom The Groom

Can’t resist a little go on this old stalwart who has slipped down the handicap though looks ready to make amends. Likes to come off a strong pace as is often the case over this fast 5f. Been running on the a/w, not being disgraced, especially considering its fourth to Gracious John in a listed race. Was actually made favourite for a similar race here last summer off a 4lb higher mark only to unseat right at the start. Yard are in absolutely flying form with 5 winners from the last 11 sent out, if that is reciprocated here then it has every chance.

1pt e/w Boom The Groom @ 9/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 4 places

3:55 Epsom – Ajman King & Another Touch

Ajman King caught my eye at the backend of last year, having been well backed into favouritism it showed a good turn of foot to power clear of its rivals over a furlong out at Doncaster on good to soft ground. Having previously won over this course and distance I am confident connections would have had this race in mind all through winter and with the yard form not a worry it may well take a lot of beating.

One that could though is Another Touch whose record over 7f or further in fields of 11 or less in the UK reads 121212113. Outside the places just once and that was last time out at Doncaster in the first meeting of the year when just outclassed against some better rivals. Back in handicap company here it suggested last time that it may be better suited these days to a bit further so wouldn’t be surprised to see an improved performance despite having to give weight away.

2pt win Ajman King @ 10/3 Ladbrokes, Coral & Boylesport

0.5pt e/w Another Touch @ 16/1 Betvictor