PUNCHESTOWN GREEN LIGHT: This afternoon’s National Hunt meeting at Punchestown goes ahead as scheduled after the course passed an 8am inspection.

The torrential rain in Ireland hasn’t been enough to scupper the card at Punchestown which is good news but there are no surprises to see that the ground is now heavy.

The first two races on the card have historically been won mainly by horses making their seasonal reappearance. It doesn’t narrow the fields down a great deal but it’s a start.

2.15 Dobbins Panoramic Restaurant Beginners Chase: Ground is the key with all todays picks as without proven experience in bottomless ground we are guessing.

Ruby’s mount here Nearest The Pin is the BETDAQ morning favourite and he just about gets the tick in the going box after a Down Royal fourth in heavy ground. Although beaten 20 lengths he was a 50/1 chance that day and showed substantially improved form to go on and win a competitive Fairyhouse handicap hurdle before finishing a neck second last time out to Johnny McGeeney in a grade C handicap hurdle here at Punchestown. He’s been lightly raced over hurdles and it would be disappointing if he could not outclass this field on his chasing debut. He’s my nap of the day.

2.45 Christmas Parties At Punchestown Beginners Chase: Another beginners chase at the top of the card and this time an odds-on favourite on BETDAQ – well at least he was this morning – Stonemaster. He looks another favourite I want to be with today despite him letting his supporters down (at odds on) on his chasing debut over course and distance earlier in the month. He has plenty of class over hurdles and didn’t shape too badly over chases jumping well and with that experience behind him should prove too strong.

I’m also throwing in a sneaky treble today with the above two and Supreme Caroline in the mares flat race that concludes the card at 5.30. She really impressed me when winning on debut at Listowel and given that was on heavy ground too I’m confident of a follow-up.

NAP: Nearest The Pin (Punchestown 2.15)
NEXT BEST: Stonemaster (Punchestown 2.45)
TREBLE: Above two with Supreme Carolina (Punchestown 5.30)

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