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The Mandarin’s Sunday Selections for 31st December 2023

The Mandarin’s Sunday Selections from Punchestown


Download The New Tote App Beginners Chase 12.45
Three Card Brag (nap)
A decent Beginners Chase to open the meeting, with Monty’s Star and Three Card Brag likely to be battling it out. They clashed at Fairyhouse last time out in another Beginners Chase won by the progressive Corbetts Cross, with Three Card Brag getting the better of Monty’s Star by over 2 lengths. With a tendency to jump left, this change to the left-handed Punchestown track should suit. Dermot McLoughlin’s Digby has also made a good start to his chasing career, so these are the ones to note, with Three Card Brag getting the vote

Tote, Never Been Beaten BY SP Handicap Chase 1.15
Kings Halo
James Dullea holds the key to this Handicap Chase with Kings Halo, who won’t mind the conditions and can back up his win at Tramore last month. The booking of Danny Mullins in the saddle adds to the appeal, and this Fame And Glory gelding is sure to win more races over fences. Up in trip, and with attentions from the Handicapper, but unexposed and can score here 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle 1.45
Storm Heart
An interesting Maiden Hurdle for the Juveniles, where the chance is taken on French import Storm Heart. His last run over 12 furlongs at Mont de Marsan on ground with plenty of cut in it suggested he’s do well now switched to National Hunt racing in Ireland. Race experience should put Eagles Reign right into the picture, so Ross O’Sullivan’s Gleneagles gelding heads the list of dangers, but Storm Heart is in top hands now with Willie Mullins, so gets a tentative tick

Tote Guarantee Available On Course & Hurdle 2.15
Sir Gerhard (nb)
This race should all be about Sir Gerhard who returns to timber after falling in the Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas on his seasonal reappearance. Having taken both the Champion Bumper and the Ballymore at successive Cheltenham Festivals, Sir Gerhard was developing into a leading Novice Chaser last season, before losing his way a tad in the Champion Novice Chase here in April. After taking that fall at Naas, this return to timber is as much a confidence booster as a change of tack, so Sir Gerhard is the one to follow if none the worse for the spill

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race 3.45
East Side
Charles Weld holds the key to the closer with East Side, whose fourth around here on her debut under rules was a solid enough run. Although the ground here will be plenty deep, that racing experience should count for something against many debutantes here. It’s always a bit of a lottery regarding track position with a big field, but given a clear passage, East Side should go close

The Mandarin

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