Stephens Day was a bloodbath for many punters but not for Mr. Colm Finlay (BetXS) , who poured on the pressure at the top of the champ.ie #8PointstoPlay leaderboard. An 8pt win bet on the JP McManus gamble Epatante (7/2) has put Colm +77.5 points for the National Hunt season. St. Stephens day was also a good day for Ronan Groome (+6.63) and Andrew Blair White (+11) as Clan Des Obeaux won the King George and Top Ville Ben went in at Wetherby.
This Saturday’s National Hunt action comes from Leopardstown, Limerick, Newbury & Leicester and our pundits have some work to do to reel Colm Finlay in! Make sure to get involved on Twitter by hash- tagging #8PointstoPlay followed by your Saturday Selections. Every Saturday for the National Hunt season.
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score : +77.5pts
2:00 Leopardstown – Dommage Pour Toi (18/1) 4pt ew
Apples Jade has regressed massively since her Champion Hurdle run. When Bacardys beat her at Navan I don’t think he improved more so than he just ran his solid race. Both have now had a couple of tough races in the not so far away past.
Uknowwhatimeanharry was very poor last time out at Newbury and we all know I’m a complete ageist. He’s 12yo in a few days and he could be going backwards. Not many of them “come back” after prolonged absences and I think Penhill might be a horse who doesn’t “come back”. Killultagh Vic was behind Apples & Barcardys at Fairyhouse and I can’t see him reversing that form. The winner of the Hattons Grace was Honeysuckle trained by Henry De Bromhead and I don’t think he’s one for making tokenistic entries.
He probably thinks this Dommage Pour Toi could get within 10-15L of her. Which would have him bang in the mix here for place at worst. He won a G2 novice hurdle so he has talent. Perhaps now back over hurdles he can find something along the lines of what he produced as a novice. With so many question marks about the horses above him in the betting in this race I think this guy is worth a shout at a mad price.
I have a comfortable lead so I can get creative and put this #8PointstoPlay to bed by the end of 2019.
Alan Doyle #8PointstoPlay score : +15pts
3.10 Leopardstown – Road to Respect (9/2) 8pts win
Sets the standard here with his battling win over King George hero Clan Des Obeaux in Down Royal earlier in the season. Should have done better this time last year only to to be checked and then lost his position. RPRs have been very solid for ten runs so deserves his place amongst the best while Kemboy may not be fighting fit for this.
Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score : +4.6pts
12.50 Leopardstown – The Jam Man (15/2) 1pt ew
Co. Armagh trainer Ronan McNally has been quite vocal regarding The Jam Man following his victory on seasonal reappearance at Navan (December 7th). The mention of Paisley Park and Stayers Hurdle certainly had my ears pricked, especially given the stylish nature of the performance. A 10Ibs rise may not be enough to stop it here with Jamie Codd booked. Travels powerfully and difficult to see him out of the frame turning in!
3.35 Newbury – Commodore Barry (10/1) 1pt ew
A maiden over fences, Commodore Barry is rated a pound less over fences than over hurdles (136). Kim Bailey’s in mate ran out at Leicester but on the evidence I don’t believe there will be a repeat. I’m weak on the first three in the market, so I’ll happily take my chances with this Presenting gelding. My namesake likes to race prominent and is likely to enjoy the galloping test at Newbury. Lovely jumper!
2.50 Limerick – Redhotfillypeppers (8/1) 1pt ew
Novice chase winner at Limerick this day last season and the Robin Des Champs mare has looked on an attractive mark (130) over fences for quite some time. A reasonable effort when finishing 5th in the Troytown on seasonal reappearance sets her up to go close here. Brian Hayes rides for WP Mullins.
3.10 Leopardstown – Kemboy (2/1) 2pt win
Difficult to oppose on last years evidence. Pitching up here without a run didn’t seem a big of an issue for David Mullins, when speaking on the champ.ie podcast before Christmas. Kemboy is not your typical stuffy 3m chaser, in fact he appears like one to strip fit easily. Willie Mullins can have his 177 rated star fit enough to regain the Savills Chase here and there’s plenty in the lineup I’m happy to oppose.
Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score : +1.63pts
12:50 Leopardstown – Tout Est Permis (11/2) 2pt win
Looks on a lovely hurdles mark and is better off at the weights than The Jam Man from Navan. With Sean Flanagan also taking the ride this time, I expect him to go close in a competitive handicap.
12:50 Leopardstown- Rock De Baune (6/1) 2pts win
Ran a cracker in the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh before been beaten when favourite on hurdles return at Naas LTO. There should be much more to come in this sphere and a step up in trip can help. Big chance here.
2:50 Limerick – Minella Times (4/1) 2pt win
Did it well at Navan latest, coming off a frantic pace. A 6Ibs hike won’t break his back for that and he looks a strong stayer likely to step up to 3m soon. Should go close.
3.10 Leopardstown – Road To Respect (9/2) 2pt win
Winner of this in 2017 who comes into this off the back of beating King George winner Clan Des Obeaux. This looks incredibly good form and at the prices I think Noel Meade’s star is worth a play.
Thomas Coyle #8PointstoPlay score : – 14.45pts
2.35 Leopardstown – Dalton Highway (13/2) 1pt ew
Placed in some big handicaps on the flat this year on soft ground a good jockey booking of Jack Kennedy and a mark of 111 looks very workable for the Dermot Weld stable.
3.10 Leopardstown – Presenting Percy (3/1) 2pt win
Looked to be a revival the last day when third in the John Durkan behind Min the step up in trip is ideal here and I think he will be hard beat in this with the run under his belt unlike the favourite Kemboy.
2.15 Limerick – Une Lavandiere (4/1) 2pt win
Won in great style in Tramore LTO and De Bromhead’s horses are flying over the Christmas period. If this mare is in the same heart as the last day will take all the beating with Hugh Morgan taking 7lbs off.
1.40 Limerick – Need for Gold (22/1) 1pt ew
Ran a bit free and fresh when running in his first handicap in Punchestown the last day. This is a slight bit weaker Conor Orr takes 5lbs off he will love conditions and might sneak a place for local trainer Eddie Cawley.
Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score : – 16.63pts
2.00 Leopardstown – Penhill (7/2) 2 Pts Win
The former Stayers Hurdle winner missed the whole of last season after a small niggle and was seen out for the first time in 18 months in the Hattons Grace. He drifted from 5s to 16s so it was obviously being seen as a blowout and that was what happened. He ran a very creditable race till the second last before tiring. He will be primed to come back to his best over this trip and the booking of Power is a positive. I can’t have the two at the top of the market so I think he has a huge chance.
2.35 Leopardstown – The Church Gate (6/1) 1 Pt EW
Last year’s winner off 11 pounds lower has been shrewdly placed over hurdles by trainer, Matthew Smith. He is an improving type and despite not much market support, put in a very good spin at Navan over further on his reappearance. He’s a strong traveling type so this trip should be optimum and is fancied to repeat last years success.
12.50 Leopardstown – Thermistocles (22/1) 1 Pt EW
A typically competive renewal of this race with a few horses potentially very well in over timber. However, this gelding was 3rd in this race last year when he was joint favourite and ran some creditable races at Cheltenham and Punchestown. He fell on Chase debut over an inadequate 2m and now reverts to hurdles, hopefully can go well at a big price.
2.25 Newbury – Copperhead (7/2) 2 Pts Win
Colin Tizzard’s charge took a while to get the hang of things over hurdles before putting two wins together on the trot at the end of last year. After a decent but unspectacular chasing debut, he progressed well to win at Wincanton. He has been put up 9 pounds for that effort but he seemed to be progressive and I see him following up.