Update: Min is now a non-runner
Most of the noise today surrounds Samcro who’s favourite to win the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (5.30). This is his first proper test and he might well be up to it. But so far, although his form looks solid, he has not posted a speed figure that would entitle him to go off favourite here. Speed figures are a useful cross check against form ratings. It might be that the races he’s contested have been run in such a fashion that they haven’t lent themselves to a high speed rating for the winner. Also, he has just 4 hurdling runs to his name so it can be rightly argued that he has plenty more races – certainly in comparison with his rivals here – in which he’ll have the chance to show how fast he is. Today might not be that day, though, unless connections decide to jump him off and try to make all; this is unlikely on the evidence of his past runs, but it’s far from impossible as there is no confirmed pace in the race.
A fast run race would bring Samcro’s proven stamina into play, and the same could be said for Supasundae. It would suit Melon too as he has proved difficult to settle in the past. But where is this pace to come from? The only one who makes a habit of front running/ racing prominently is Melon’s stablemate, Coquin Mans. Although this one is an outsider in the betting, his form is probably smart enough for the others not to let him get too far in front. I am assuming he will set the pace.
Min is pretty much being ignored in the betting, probably due to having been beaten in a steeplechase here on Tuesday by stablemate Un De Sceaux. This followed a defeat by Politologue at Aintree on April 13th. Min ran a fine race that day and was just outbattled. I think he had a hard race too, and his trainer said on Tuesday that he believed Min had had a tough race at Aintree.
So why run him not only on Tuesday but again today? Who knows? The only thing we can be fairly sure about is that Min is sound and in good enough shape to run. The other thing we can be sure of is that on his best hurdling form he should be nowhere near the price he is today. The last time he ran over hurdles he finished second in what has become recognised as the best modern-day running of the Supreme Novices. He finished 2nd to Altior that day. Third was dual champion hurdler Buveur D’Air.
Min is two from two over hurdles at Punchestown. He has never looked a natural steeplechaser to my eye, seeming leggy and awkward sometimes at his fences (although he jumped well at Aintree). There’s a fair chance, I think, that Min will appreciate a return to hurdles. Despite the perceived drawbacks, I think he is far too big at 20/1 in this eight-runner race. I’d have him as about an 8/1 chance, so he must be backed each way.
Min is a “strongly recommended” bet (see here) each way at 20/1 (several bookies) in the 5.30 Punchestown.
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.