An objective (as much as it can be) look at the Punchestown Champion Bumper
The time of his win at Market Rasen was very slow and little can be gleaned from that. Double W’s came out and won next time but failed to build on that. Probably a better gauge is from his run behind Barter’s Hill at Newbury when he was beaten 3 ¼ lengths off level weights making him a 3lb worse hors (than Barter's Hill) . On a line through Barter’s Hill he is a couple of pounds behind Bellshill.
AU QUART DE TOUR
His performance at Cheltenham was very disappointing and, if anything, his run behind Livelovelaugh and Anibale Fly subsequently was even More disappointing. It is difficult to see him even replicating the Cheltenham form (which is far below the standard needed)
Now this is interesting: Timeform thought his run behind Barter’s Hill at Aintree was 17 pounds better than at Cheltenham; but was it really? On a line through Joe O’Farrell, Wait for Me’s performance at Ascot (his first run) put him, at least 6 pounds better than Barter’s Hill. Given how easily he won we should call that 10 pounds. Bellshill finIshed 13 lengths behind Wait For Me at Cheltenham which would suggest that Barter’s Hill had 3 pounds (or 3 lengths) in hand. At Aintree, when they met, Barter’s Hill beat Bellshill be 2 lengths; this suggests that Bellshill ran within a pound of his Cheltenham run at Aintree! (not 16 pounds better)
Patrick Mullins has the pick of the Mullin's Bumper horses and chose to ride Bordini at Cheltenham. He was pulled up but, given Patrick having chosen him, it might be best to forget that performance. Indeed, in pre-Punchestown interviews Patrick has clearly indicated that Bordini would be his choice for this race; he isn’t and Patrick has chosen Bellshill. To my mind this indicates that Bordini is not giving off the vibes you would want him to in advance of this race.
Ran an OK race at Cheltenham and again at Fairyhouse behind Anibale Fly but there was nothing to suggest any improvement.
Modus had a tough race at Cheltenham will now be ridden by an amateur for the first time; albeit they don’t come much better than Derek O’Connor. He would have been trained with Cheltenham in mind and needs to prove that he can recapture that form one more time; something he didn’t do with an uninspiring run at Aintree in 2014. On paper the best form but there are reasons to tread warily
I honestly find it incomprehensible that this horse is first or second favourite in most lists. At Cheltenham he was a non-runner but, before that, was number 6 or 7 (out of 7) based on jockey bookings. The fact that he is now the most fancied of the Mullin’s runners is more testament to their performance at Cheltenham than anything he has done. He put up a good performance at Naas but that was over 19 furlongs and he may not have the pace for this and, once again, jockey bookings would suggest the he is not considered the strongest stable entry. (Jane Mangan, as good a jockey as she may be, has not ridden for Willie in the last five years and is having a tough season with just 2/63 winners)
Supasundae did very little wrong at Cheltenham except for getting tired in the last 200 yards. Punchestown is a less testing track and the distance is half a furlong shorter. Jamie Codd rides the Pott’s point to point horses and is a very competent rider. He had a tough race at Cheltenham and has enjoyed significant breaks between races previously so there are some questions to be answered but, overall, he looks the most likely winner.
It’s very difficult to get sense of where this horse is. On the face of it he has a lot to do in this company but it has been chosen over the ‘Winners of 1’ so is clearly well thought of; on balance though, an outsider. Interestingly Timeform rates him at the same level as Bay of Freedom (and above a few others) so could be worth backing for a speculative place.
Montana Belle had a tough race at Cheltenham and did very well to finish where she did. It remains to be seen if that race will leave a mark. Finished 4 lengths in front of Bay of Freedom and , if reproducing that effort, there may not be much between them again.
Both of his races have been run at a very steady pace and it remains to be seen how he will fare in a more strongly run race (the same can be said for Disko). He is in the Punchestown Sales this week so it is pretty brave to be running him in this race; that would suggest he is highly regarded and is expected to run a big race. The form of his first race doesn’t amount to a great deal but the form of his second race is interesting. The 4th came out and won quite nicely at Tramore; although it was on very different ground. However the third was well beaten when tragically injuring itself a furlong out at Perth last week. It is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusion; as is the case with the 4year-old form overall: they could be great but they could also be very average.
Disko was very impressive in his sole start at Punchestown and , visually, looks to have real potential. Noel Meade (trainer) said after his race:
He´s clear-winded, he´s a great mover, has great balance, he´s a good one and he could be the real thing, you never know…… He´s a horse that would have you jumping up and down about him!
And he should know!!
Then again he did have this to say about a previous Champion Bumper horse who had also had won her only previous run easily:
"Fickle Fortune did what I thought she would do. To look at her you would think she has done plenty of work but she´s done very little. She´s very special, she has serious speed and goes on any ground.”
She started 2nd favourite and finished 5th (of 10)
Another fascinating thing about Disko (although it may say more about the Racing Post) is the remarkable disparity between the Racing Post Ratings and their speed figures. Disko has the highest Racing Post rating but the second worst Speed rating ; both based on just the one run. It boggles the mind how the Racing Post different ratings can be so at odds with each other but, then for readers on this site, it’s probably no surprise at all!
That just leaves one horse to discuss:
BAY OF FREEDOM
He had a poor start at Cheltenham and was unable to really get into a rhythm. We feel he has improved several pounds and matured since Cheltenham. If you factor in the 5+ lengths we lost at the start that would put hi in front of or close to the three horses who finished in front of him in that race. We will ride him much more prominently in this race and, while that could backfire, there is very chance it will make a big difference.
There is no good reason why we should finish behind the Mullins horses, there’s no good reason to suggest Pylonthepressure is any better than them, it is unlikely that either Altior or Wade Harper are good enough, there are doubts about the horses who finished in front of us at Cheltenham and the 4 year-old form is very tough to work out.
There is every reason to believe that Bay of Freedom can be very competitive.
I am not going to jinx Bay of Freedom by choosing him but this looks a likely scenario:
3 BAY OF FREEDOM