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Saturday 18 November 2017

Petit looks set to strike it big

Petit Mouchoir, with David Mullins on board, on the way to winning the BHP Irish Championn Hurdle (Grade 1) at Leopardstown back in January
Petit Mouchoir, with David Mullins on board, on the way to winning the BHP Irish Championn Hurdle (Grade 1) at Leopardstown back in January

A clear round of jumping should mean a winning start over fences is a formality for the dual Grade One winning hurdler PETIT MOUCHOIR as racing returns to Punchestown this afternoon.

The Gigginstown-owned grey is undoubtedly the star on show at Punchestown's opening day of a two-day fixture which Willie Mullins is traditionally quiet at but de Bromhead, Gordon Elliott and Jessica Harrington among others definitely target it as a starting point for some of their bigger names.

Gigginstown were responsible for two of the odds-on favourites on the card when bookmakers priced up the card yesterday evening, Petit Mouchoir in the beginners chase and CRACKING SMART in the maiden hurdle. Both look worthy of their place in the market.

None of Petit Mouchoir's rivals look capable of matching him on any hurdle form while Cracking Smart looks an aptly named prospect for novice hurdles this season after winning a Fairyhouse bumper by 13-lengths last season.

Elliott's other notable runner on the card is CAMPEADOR.

The five-year-old has been described as "a good horse with a massive engine" by his trainer and that is hard to argue with on visual evidence but the form book unfortunately tells a different tale.

Campeador has fallen twice now when appearing to be on the way to victory, firstly in last year's Fred Winter and then in a Grade A handicap at Fairyhouse in December. The JP McManus-owned runner will be ridden by Barry Geraghty on his first start since Fairyhouse and although having a lay-off to defy, this looks a good opportunity for him to get a confidence boost.

Enda Bolger teamed up with his promising 7lbs claimer Donie McInerney to land the feature honours at Cork on Sunday and the pair can combine again in the penultimate handicap chase today with WILLIAM DU BERLAIS.

An emphatic winner at Downpatrick on his penultimate start, William Du Berlais could only finish third next time at Roscommon but the nicer ground today should be a help and the form of that race also got a boost on Sunday with Teacher's Pet winning again.

The JP McManus newcomers in the opening three-year-old hurdle could be nice sorts but on what we know MASTERSTONEMASON looks the pick of the juveniles lining up here and can win again.

Nina Carberry is just picked to edge a competitive bumper on IAMASTARTOO for Noel Meade.

PUNCHESTOWN TODAY

2.05 Masterstonemason

2.35 Campeador

3.10 Cracking Smart

3.40 Pack Your Bags

4.10 Petit Mouchoir

4.45 William Du Beralis

5.20 Iamastartoo

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