Record breaking flat trainer Aidan O’Brien saddles his first National Hunt runners since 2004 in the AES Family Saturday At The Festival INH Flat Race at Punchestown on Wednesday. The seven race cards commences at 2:05.
Racing kicks off at the Kildare venue with the Festival Free Upgrade Offer Ends Today Maiden Hurdle. The exciting Foxrock (1/2 with Boylesports.com) looks the pick of the field as he was well fancied to take a much stronger event than this at Leopardstown over Christmas when falling. He was since beaten by Mala Beach but this looks a much easier task. Los Amigos and Kashline are the dangers.
The second race the Festival Any Day Flexi-Ticket Hurdle includes classy sorts such as Apt Approach and Western Leader. Perhaps it is best to take a chance on Corbally Ghost ( 7/2 with Boylesports.com). Noel Meades lightly raced six year old suffered his only defeat under Rules at the hands of Simonsig in a Fairyhouse bumper in April 2011 and he is already two from two over timber including a Grade 3 when last sighted at Cork. The clear negatives on this horse are that his last outing was 437 ago. Noel Meade is sure to have him spot on for today and could be worth siding with at a decent price. Dressedtothenines has a chance given the conditions and he weight in this event.
Un De Sceaux (4/7 with Boylesports.com) makes his debut for Willie Mullins in the Festival Party Pack From #19 Maiden Hurdle at 3:10. The dual French bumper winner commands the utmost respect in this contest and with the trainers record with these recruits he has to be sided with. Sammy Black is his biggest danger after his impressive run on his most recent outing.
Queen of the Hill (7/2 with Boylesports.com) could be good enough to take the Punchestown.com for Festival Offers Mares Maiden Hurdle. He recent second placing has left her rated 112 which should be good enough to win this maiden. She had today’s rival Carrigeen Lonicera behind her the last day and that form should hold up today. Chiltern Hills and Carrigeen Lonicera can cause the biggest threat.
The obvious eye-catchers in the AES Family Saturday At The Festival INH Flat Race are the two Aidan O’Brien runners. His daughter is on Egyptian Warrior (5/4 with Boylesports.com) and it could pay valuable to side with this one. He’s surely keen to get her into the winners’ enclosure after his other daughter Ana scored at Dundalk last Friday night. The pedigree of Eqyptain Warrior is that of a highly bred flat horse as he is a full-brother to Racing Post Trophy winner and Derby favourite Kingsbarns. This will be an interesting race as the Ballydoyle team could well become a force in this sphere.