Preview of the Tied Cottage Chase and Free Betting Tips – Punchestwon hosts a cracking card today with the Grade 2 Tied Cottage Chase the highlight. Run over 2m, this race provides the perfect preperation for those horses looking at a tilt at the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Willie Mullins will be looking to continue his dominance of Irish racing when Arvika Ligeonniere (4/9 bet365) takes to the stage as the odds-on favourite. This nine-year-old has won all his four starts at Punchestown and is unbeaten when going right-handed over fences. He disappointed last time out in the Paddy Power Dial-a-Bet chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, when finishing third behind Benefficient and Hidden Cyclone, so connections will looking to get back to winning ways. His presence in the race has scared many off, and he only faces three rivals. You can’t deny that he is a class act, and his entry in this race indicates that connections may be tilting towards the Queen Mother Champion Chase come Cheltenham in March. Personally I think he’s better over a bit further, but with the uncertainty surrounding Sprinter Sacre at the moment, you can’t blame connections for keeping their options open.
One to drop back in trip is the Gigginstown owned TONER D’OUDAIRIES (5/1 Coral), one of two in the race for the owners, and the pick of new retained jockey Bryan Cooper. The Gordon Elliott trained seven year old is a consistent type, but this step back in trip to two miles is a worry. He’s run over all sorts of distances, and has arguably shown better over further – he even has an entry for the Grand National. When it comes to Cheltenham, he has only one entry, and that is for the Ryanair. He chased home Arvika Ligeonniere last time they met in a 2m4f chase at Clonmel last November but is 1lb better off with favourite today. He won’t be hindered by the softer going, having won last time out on heavy ground.
Special Tiara (8/1 Ladbrokes) gets a new jockey this weekend, with Davy Russell taking the ride for the first time. He is arguably much more effective on better ground, and on that basis he is probably best watched in the race – all of his best performances have come on good ground. One of which was when he won a Grade 1 at the Grand National meeting in Aintree last April. His last run was at the Open Meeting in Cheltenham back in November, when he finished an impressive third behind Kid Cassidy, and the horse that has made the most of Sprinter Sacre’s absence – Sire De Grugy. His last encounter with Arvika Ligeonniere was on heavy ground at Punchestown last April, when he was beaten convincingly as Arvika Ligeonniere extended his advantage quite easily, which doesn’t give him much hope in this race.
The second Gigginstown hope in the race is Rathlin (12/1 BetVictor), who enjoyed a fine summer winning three races on the bounce before failing to get competitive behind stable companion Rule The World in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas a fortnight ago. That race was only a couple of weeks ago, so this race may too soon after a six month layoff. His three wins over the summer were all on better ground than what he’ll be running over in this race, so he may be another runner unsuited by the heavier going.
It looks to be a two horse race between the odds-on favourite Arvika Ligeonniere and the Gigginstown owned TONER D’OUDAIRIES. The favourite's short odds are justified as he's looked a classy horse in the past, who absolutely loves Punchestown. His main rival is stepping down in trip, but is a consistent type, with a talented young jockey on board. He carries less weight than the favourite which could be crucial in this ground. I like to look for some value in a race, and because of that I am going to go against the favourite, who didn’t look at his best last timeout. I'm hoping Toner D’Oudairies continues his consistent form and will be in prime position if the favourite falters.
TONER D’OUDAIRIES (WIN) (5/1 Coral)
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