RUEFUL SHAMROCK RELIES ON LAMBRO: After back-to-back naps, and two winners at 12-1, Shamrock went quiet yesterday, as did the many others who backed the beaten ‘certainty’ St Nicholas Abbey. Says Shamrock: ‘All jockeys are allowed one mistake; tipsters are not! So that’s the last time I go buying money!’ His nap today is Lambro.

5.50 Punchestown (Aon Stakes): There’s no English raider, as last year, to spoil the party for Willie Mulins and Ruby Walsh (three in a row in this 2007-9). But will the drying ground beat them?

Call The Police has run some cracking races on a decent surface – third in the RSA at Cheltenham, fourth in the Powers Gold Cup – but all his winning form is on soft and heavy.

Foildubh is another battle-hardened soft-ground horse, and I just wonder if Paul Nolan has front-running Gala Dancer ready after an absence; he’s the true top-of-the-ground horse in the race, a fine jumper who is still only seven: 11.5 on BETDAQ at time of writing.

Nolan usually targets this meeting, having won the 6.20 a couple of years back and the Pat Taaffe Chase twice in the last decade.

6.20 Punchestown: Well behind Call The Police and co in the RSA was stablemate Lambro, who will be a serious contender here, dropped back to 2m 2f, in a race Mullins-Walsh have won four times in eight years.

Lambro is officially 4lb better than the consistent Slievardagh but seems to have a bit to find with top-rated False Economy. However, a line through Flemenstar suggests that Lambro should be rated ahead of him.

7.20 Punchestown (Pat Taaffe Chase): Bishopsfurze missed Cheltenham through injury and was in need of the run back at Fairyhouse, unfancied at 16-1 against Flemenstar, after two months’ off.

Should be a different story here but the question-mark is today’s step up to 3m 1f, with connections trying to open up his options for the 2013 festivals.

I can see the trip suiting the progressive Caduceus, and the lightweight English raider, Fishoutofwater, a winner at 3m over hurdles so sure to be staying on for David Casey (and the slower pace should help his jumping).

The ground won’t be soft enough for Tullintain, Mister Farmer and Magnanimity, but Leanne seldom runs a bad race and the mare won on good ground before her Irish Grand National fifth.

NAP: Lambro (6.20 Punchestown)
WIN AND PLACE: Gala Dancer (5.50 Punchestown), Caduceus (7.20 Punchestown)

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