Another day of action at Punchestown on Thursday as we get into the thick of what has already been an enjoyable, not to mention educational, festival. With the form of Wednesday to go on we look ahead to an action-packed afternoon, with an eight-race card taking us from a handicap hurdle at 3.40pm through to flat race at 7.45pm. Here are our top horse racing 2 May betting tips.
Included on the list are four graded contests, the best of them being the Champion Stayers Hurdle and the highlight of the show, the Ryanair Novice Chase. The latter is a real fans’ favourite and is the race we will focus our attentions on here. Punters will be delighted to see there’s no lack of value available on this one to those willing to put in the work.
Thankfully, our horse racing tipsters have done the necessary research, saving you time and effort. That means, by reading our in-depth preview, you can make a well thought out prediction on the winner of the Ryanair Novice Chase without being tied to your desk pouring over the form and figures of the contenders.
The Ryanair Novice Chase is a Grade 1 contest run over the two miles at Punchestown and at the time of writing the going is expected to be perfect for a contest of this nature, played out in front of the sizeable audience that will cram themselves into the famous Irish venue.
The steeplechase has been dominated by trainer Willie Mullins in recent years with the Irishman standing as the race’s most successful trainer. He got off the mark with Le Roi Miguel back in 2003 and that was added to by Arvika Ligeonniere in 2013, Un De Sceaux 2015 and Douvan when scoring in 2016. Will we see him return to the head of the pile again this year? It’s certainly possible and he arrives at Punchestown with a strong hand in each of the week’s top races.
Casual backers are always attracted to the success of the Mullins yard and horses ridden by Ruby Walsh are never too far from their thinking either. The jockey has sat on six previous champions and that’s a number the competition haven’t been able to top to date. Ruby led Le Roi Miguel to success and his victories have come when working with Mullins. He’s joined on a half-dozen wins by Barry Geraghty who is responsible for Moscow Flyer 2002, Big Zeb 2008, Lucky William 2012 and God’s Own in 2014.
Footpad Defending Champion
Footpad won this race last year under the guidance of Daryl Jacob and he was Willie Mullins’ fourth winner on the bounce and his sixth in the last decade. There really is no competing with that kind of form. The champion was the third-in-a-row aged six years old at the time of writing and that’s something that will interest followers of the trends. Four of the last five winners have been six, Footpad boosting the stats helped along by God’s Own, Douvan and Great Field.
The bookies have had their say on this year’s renewal and have Duc Des Genievres as their early favourite, with no more than Unibet’s 15/8 available. That’s a convincing stance by the traders but it makes perfect sense from where we’re standing and there’s no doubt they have the best horse in the race picked. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will win, however, as the big meetings are littered with upsets and shock results.
Duc Des Genievres represents the Mullins yard, so appeals and is a six-year-old runner. This runner seems to tick all the right boxes and the bookie of Paul Townend only helps his chances. We wouldn’t be in a rush to talk anyone out of sticking their stake money on this talented grey, but there’s no skill involved in finding the favourite, so we aim at an outsider we think can upset the jolly with a big effort.
Voix Du Reve the Value
Defi Du Seuil is next in line with Ladbrokes offering out 5/2 second favourite. Another who has genuine claims on the prize, but another just a little too short in what should be a fiercely competitive race. We let our eyes drift down to Voix Du Reve who carries a punter friendly price of 8/1 at Ladbrokes and is sure to give backers a real run for their money.
The seven-year-old is another from the star-studded Willie Mullins yard and goes into the contest as a seven-year-old with a CV showing five wins and four placed efforts from 18 runs. He put together a couple of eye-catching wins late last year before falling at Leopardstown and unseating Ruby Walsh at the Cheltenham Festival in March when contesting the JLT Novices Chase, a race won by Defi Du Seuil by 2 ¼ lengths ahead of runner-up Lostintranslation, the winner sent off as 3/1 favourite.
Excuses can be made for both poor efforts but Voix Du Reve got back in the mix when winning last time out at Fairyhouse when cementing the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase over 2m 4f. The pick scooped that Grade 1 contest by a stunning 5 ½ lengths ahead of pre-race favourite Real Steel, the horse showing why it’s never wise to write him off on the big stage.
Only four horses finished that race but none of them were able to land a blow on Voix Du Reve who swaggered to the finish line a thoroughly deserving victor. To make the result even more impressive it came despite a mistake earlier in the contest, one that had backers worried their runner could come crashing down again.
Thankfully for those with their stake on his 9/4, it was plain sailing from there. Voix Du Reve battled gamely at the business end of the race and that won him new fans.
Others in the betting to win this year’s Ryanair Novice Chase are Chacun Pour Soi at 11/2, Ornau 9/1 with Ladbrokes, Us And Them at 12/1 with the same firm. The latter is sure to catch the eye of each-way backers who will benefit from 1/4 the odds a place 1-2.