This week is littered with quality racing, the last of the big three spring National Hunt Festivals at Punchestown gets underway on Tuesday, right the way through to Saturday, featuring 12 Grade 1’s across the five days. A great battle is in store between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins for the Irish Trainers Championship, it’s going down to the wire which provides an excellent sub-plot to the week. Sandown gets their flat season underway on Friday with the Classic Trial and we sign the jumps season off there on Saturday, with the highlight being the Celebration Chase where hopefully we’ll see Altior.
- Mick Channon – Really starting to hit form, particularly towards the backend of last week. Had an impressive 6 winners over Friday and Saturday including the 10/1 winner of the Fred Darling, will be worth paying close attention to his runners throughout the week.
- Richard Hannon – Another who had a strong weekend, racked up a treble on Saturday and interestingly they were all newcomers. Is well worth keeping an eye on his debutants this week as he appears to have them ready to go.
- Noel Meade – A trainer who has his string in fine form, ready for a massive week in the Irish Racing calendar. Operating at a 31% strike rate in the last couple of weeks (5 winners from 16 runners) including successes at 10/1 & 11/2, he’ll have plenty of ammo at Punchestown.
- Silvestre De Sousa – The Champ is riding with plenty of confidence at the moment with 7 winners last week, including a treble at Windsor on Monday.
- William Buick – Had a brilliant time of it at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting with 6 winners across the three days, goes to Yarmouth on Tuesday for just the one ride which is worth noting.
- Paul Townend – Will be the number one man for Mullins this week due to the absence of Ruby Walsh meaning he’ll have some top rides.
- Sean Flanagan – Underrated Irish rider who’ll pick up some nice mounts this week, most notably for Noel Meade and he’ll be sitting on some at tasty prices.
- Noel Fehily – A master of his trade and he’ll be at Punchestown this week, has been right at the top of his game the past two seasons and is the man for the big occasion.
- Chilean – Promising three year old for Martyn Meade, won twice last year including a Listed race and was sixth in the Racing Post Trophy. Made a winning return to action in France and holds entries at Epsom and Sandown this week.
- Glens Harmony – Lightly raced, well-related mare for Willie Mullins who has plenty of potential. One to note if she runs in the 7.15pm at Punchestown on Thursday.
- Ajman King – Looks highly progressive for Roger Varian, boasts strong maiden form and hacked up on handicap debut at the backend of last season. Doubly entered at Epsom on Wednesday.