American Mike finished second behind Facile Vega at the Cheltenham Festival and faces the same rival at Punchestown on Wednesday; a superb Punchestown Gold Cup features Ryanair winner Allaho and former Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Minella Indo and Al Boum Photo
Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:12, UK
Punchestown Festival winner Jamie Codd gives his selections for day two of the season-ending meeting and provides an insight on his Champion Bumper second American Mike.
This is a very competitive hurdle to start off, a 25-runner handicap for conditional jockeys. The one I like is one of Gavin Cromwell's called Stumptown. He won a maiden hurdle last October in Limerick.
He then had two quick runs in December and January when he ran okay. He's off a nice weight and I think the better ground will help him. At a price, he can run well.
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In the Auction Series Hurdle I am going to go for Gordon Elliott's Sam's Choice.
He was just beaten by Glengouly in Leopardstown in March, but he is now getting 5lb off him. I think the trip and the better ground is going to suit him so I think he can turn the tables.
Crosshill had a couple of runs over fences, but he is back now over hurdles. He had a run in Thurles in March when he was third behind Gentlemansgame and Unexpected Depth.
I think he will improve from that. Jessica Harrington's horses usually come into form for Punchestown. This horse has a lot of experience, and I am expecting a big run.
This is very competitive with the first three home from the Albert Bartlett, The Nice Guy, Minella Crooner and Bardenstown Lad, taking each other on again.
I have a fancy for Minella Cocooner to beat The Nice Guy this time. I think this track will suit him well. An interesting contender is Journey With Me who fell in the Ballymore behind Sir Gerhard.
He is stepping up in the trip now and could be the one to give them the most to do.
This is a hell of a race, very competitive. There are two Aintree winners in Clan Des Obeaux, who won this last year, and Fakir D'oudairies, the King George winner Tornado Flyer and two former Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Minella Indo and Al Boum Photo.
I just think that stepping back up to three miles around Punchestown, Allaho might have the beating of those older horses.
The Ryanair winner has form around the course, landing the John Durkan. He is a more experienced horse than he was when he went three miles before. I think he could take a lot of beating.
Galvin ran a really good race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has never really disappointed, and I can see him in the first three or four again.
I ride American Mike here. We ran a really good race in Cheltenham where we bumped into Facile Vega. I still have a lot of faith in American Mike and I think he can give the favourite something to think about around Punchestown.
A bit of nicer ground won't do any harm. Punchestown is right-handed and we won a bumper at Down Royal going right-handed and Facile Vega has never gone that way.
Facile Vega will be hard to beat but if there is a horse to beat him it will be American Mike.
I am going to go for Jessica Harrington's Discordantly. He won in Leopardstown in March but was brought down in the Topham at Aintree last time.
If he shows no ill-effects from that experience, I think he can go really well here. Fancy Foundation has a nice weight down the bottom, and he could be one who will be suited by the ground.
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I ride Jessica Harrington's filly Jetara who has a really good pedigree and won well at Fairyhouse at the Easter meeting, where she beat two of Willie Mullins's. I am looking forward to riding her.
I think Noel Meade's The Model Kingdom is probably the one to keep onside. She won a Listed bumper at Navan really well, beating Harmonya Maker and Battling Bessie.
She is unexposed and I am going to take a chance with her.