Difficult to see past Gordon's ace performer
Punters would probably love to see novices taking on senior horses more often but there has rarely been a more suitable candidate than SAMCRO (5.30).
It looks like Samcro is thrown in here to try and help Gordon Elliott back into the trainers' championship as the Champion Hurdle is worth twice what the novice race is worth.
But Samcro deserves to take his chance regardless. If he didn't run in the Champion Hurdle, Samcro was going to run in the 2m4f novice race and Gordon looks set to win that with Pallasator anyway so after a tough week it looks like Gordon will be the man to follow on the second last day of the season.
Samcro hasn't put a foot wrong any day that he's had a saddle on his back and I have no reason to think today will be any different.
Samcro won the Ballymore at Cheltenham and the second horse has won since so the form is already working and before Cheltenham, he was running in Ireland and there was hardly anything finishing second to him.
So I'd have no fear of him stepping up to the Champion Hurdle because I think he is the best horse returned in training.
pallasator (6.05) won a Group Two on the Flat before he joined Gordon and while it took him a couple of runs to find his way over hurdles, there was no doubt that he had rightly got the hang of it at Fairyhouse when he won at Easter and missing Cheltenham will stand in his favour here.
Gordon's other strong chance on the card is ROARING BULL (7.10) in the second last race but Willie will hit back with KEMBOY (4.20) in the novice handicap chase.
Kemboy is probably better than a handicapper at his best and we've seen some impressive winners of this race over the years.
I think Kemboy could be the latest to win this, and with a bit in hand.
I'd be sticking with Peter Maher in the first race as he primes his horses for this Festival and rarely goes home without a winner.
He has booked the leading point-to-point rider Barry O'Neill for ALPHA MALE (3.40) so he would look the pick of his.
He ran a good race at a point-to-point in Punchestown earlier this season.
Punchestown today - Shark's tips
3.40 Alpha Male
4.55 Bonny Kate
7.10 Roaring Bull
7.40 Lone Wolf