TEMPLEGATE goes in search of a load of winners from a jam-packed Saturday of racing.
Read on for our man’s top tips from here and Ireland as the first Classic of the season gets underway at Newmarket.
NATIVE TRAIL (3.40 Nouveau marché, sieste)
He is a proven class act who has already shown his liking for this course and distance by running away with the Craven Stakes earlier this month.
He looked a well above average winner of that contest where his turn of foot was decisive. The Godolphin runner already has two Group 1s on his CV and can maintain his unbeaten record.
FAST MEDICINE (2.25 Nouveau marché, nb)
He looked a different horse on his first run since being gelded when scooting in at Nottingham earlier this month.
The handicapper puts him up another 6lb after this race so this is the time to strike.
PRIMO BACIO (2.40 Bon bois, tripler)
She held her own at Group 1 level last season when beaten just over a length twice.
Trip and ground are ideal and she was an easy winner the last time she ran in this Listed class.
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Templegate’s Punchestown tips
Many of the La Touche Cup runners are in the field but SHADY OPERATOR is a fresher horse who didn’t do himself justice in the Cheltenham cross-country race. He goes well here and Enda Bolger is still the man to beat over the Banks.
Ballyboker Bridge won the La Touche fair and square and should run well again but second Singing Banjo can turn the tables given he was badly hampered on Thursday.
ANIBALE FLY got no luck when brought down early in the Aintree Grand National and can show his staying power over this extended trip. He’s down the weights from his peak.
Plan Of Attack looks a threat after a solid third at the Cheltenham Festival, while Champagne Platinum was far from disgraced in the Irish National and can hit the frame.
EPTATANTE gave Honeysuckle a race when second in the Champion Hurdle before destroying her Grade 1 rivals at Aintree. She was third in the Champion here last year and this isn’t as tough.
Stablemate Marie’s Rock won the Cheltenham Mares’s Grade 1 nicely and could be the biggest danger dropping back in trip.
Telmesomethinggirl was brought down in that race when travelling well and is another danger.
DUC DE BEAUCHENE comes over from David Pipe having battled to win well at Newbury earlier this month. A 2lb rise in the weights for that looks more than generous.
Fellow JP McManus hope Donkey Years ran well when second at Fairyhouse and the cheekpieces go on for the first time, which could help. Defi Bleu beat him less than a length there and will be in the mix again.
VAUBAN was awesome when winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and can confirm superiority with Fil Dor. The Willie Mullins was on the bridle most of the way and looks on a different level.
Willie Mullins fires a few darts but LA PRIMA DONNA ran a cracker when second at Fairyhouse earlier this month and looks capable of this mark.
Fastorslow was beaten in a head-bobber for the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last month when coming with a late rattle. He’s lightly raced and won’t be far away.
The Shunter has had a little nudge down the weights and was third in a similar race here last year.
BALLYBAY can give Willie Mullins the final race of the Festival and the season. Patrick Mullins has chosen to ride him and he’ll know his job.
Spirit Of Legend has shown promise in the pointing field and can chase him home.
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