The Daily Yankee
NAP OF THE DAY: Dounikos, (1630 Punchestown), 0.5pts each way, 50/1 (first 6 home – Skybet):
A good staying handicap chase but arguably lacks an obviously well handicapped contender. The Elliott yard looks to be edging back to top form in time for the Spring festivals. As ever he throws a lot of darts at this target, many of them lights of yesteryear. Dounikos is a past winner of this and is now 7lbs lower with that win a standout in a sea of miserable failure. That said there was more enthusiasm before pulling up late on in a better race last time and now he tries some face furniture. Bryan Cooper is a good booking and the return to this test may just spark a return to some form.
Blast Of Koeman, (1330 Punchestown), 8/1: a cross country race that has often been a pointer to Cheltenham success. It is often the case that horses improve dramatically for a first look at these unusual obstacles. That could make cross country debutant Shady Operator a bit short despite being the clear form choice based on conventional racing. Ballybroker Bridge is a reliable yardstick even know at 14yo, but if our improvement theory has legs then Blast Of Koeman should have a big chance to close down the 12l he trailed Ballybroker by when making his debut over this course. A 7lb swing also helps.
Lee Valley Legacy, (1530 Punchestown), 8/1: in form mare who has been battling out for placed prize money all winter. Has to have a chance here on her current form and now gets the golden 5lb claim of star conditional jockey Simon Torrens which can make the difference.
Dinny Lacey, (1600 Punchestown), 9/4: one of a few here who flew too high after a debut chase win, in his case he tried to take on the great Envoi Allen and finished a predictably distant last of 3 finishers. Still, that was 20l behind which is still arguably the best form on offer here and he should enjoy swimming in these much shallower waters.
Please subscribe for latest tips and news, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook