punchestown 31st Dec
Bog Warrior and Davy Russell clear the last at Punchestown
(Healy Racing Photos)
Last year's Drinmore winner fell on his seasonal return over fences at Down Royal but has subsequently looked very much at home over the smaller obstacles.
Davy Russell took up the running on Tony Martin's charge with three to take, as the returning Solwhit moved from the back of the field into second.< Solwhit kept responding on his first outing for 708 days, butp>Bog Warrior powered away to score by six and a half lengths.
Russell doubled up at Ruby Walsh's expense in the Festival Hospitality On Sale 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins-trained Fatcatinthehat made the running and had the race in his grasp before a heavy final-flight fall let Noel Meade's Hartside enjoy a lucky win, ultimately easing home by eight lengths from Hazariban.
Vesper Bell (5-4) opened his account over fences at the second attempt with a taking display in the Buy Your 2013 Annual Membership Beginners Chase.
Walsh sat on the shoulder of long-time leader You Must Know Me before kicking on approaching the second-last.< You Must Know Me made a tired mistake at that point but the Mullins representative was already six lengths clear and he skipped home 15 lengths to the good over Carry Each Other, who boxed on for second.
Dessie Hughes' Canaly (9-1) backed up his recent chase win at Fairyhouse with a one and three-quarter-length defeat of Mallowney in the Buy Your Tickets Online At www.punchestown.com Handicap Hurdle, while Des McDonogh's World Citizen (10-1) narrowly denied Corbally in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
St Stephens Day in Leopardstown is one of the iconic racing days of the year and 2014 looks set to deliver on this long established standard. The most appealing bet for a Tote Punter on this day looks set to be the Jackpot which has been guaranteed at an incredibly generous €20,000. I say generous because as we go through the card you will see that the jackpot puzzle looks a relatively easy one to solve with two small field short priced favourites courtesy of the all-conquering Willie Mullins stable. In addition to the guarantee Tote are also offering a €10,000 bonus to any punter who happens to be the only winner of the jackpot on any particular day.