The Punchestown Festival gets underway on Tuesday in what is expected to be a thrilling Grand Finale of the National Hunt Season.
The five day festival will see some of the best horses in the sport in action, including the horse that has not only beaten all challengers this year, but destroyed them, Sprinter Sacre.
Nicky Henderson’s ‘Black Aeroplane’ is fully expected to dominate again in the Champion Chase after what can only be described as a phenomenal season for the 7-year-old wonder-horse. Last year’s victor Sizing Europe is the obvious contender but after finishing 19l runner-up to Sacre at Cheltenham, there should only be one winner, and at 1/7, it looks a certainty.
Champagne Fever will be hoping to complete his hat-trick bid in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle after winning impressively at Cheltenham Festival in March, defying heavily-backed favourite My Tent Or Yours. Jezki finished third behind the pair in that race and is the obvious threat to Ruby Walsh and his 6-year-old. Both are expected to go off at around 6/4, with Rule The World and Davy Russell completing the threesome of red hot contenders.
Back in Focus drops back in trip from his 4m victory at Cheltenham in March, and is the 3/1, leading contender for the Growise Champion Novice Chase over 3m1f. Tofino Bay was ½l behind him on that day and is sure to be thereabouts again. Willie Mullins’ Boston Bob fell at the festival when travelling well in front and excusing that fall, is in with a good chance on previous form.
The first race of the Festival is the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase over 3m, which is sure to provide a wide open race ensuring good value. Near Perfection and Keep on Track should both run well providing they don’t tire, and Johnnyofcourse and Send For Paddy are also likely to feature prominently.
Philip Hobbs will be hoping for a repeat of last year in the Bragbet Handicap Hurdle, as his 11-year-old Snap Tie bids to defend his crown. Willie Mullins Tasitiocht will lead the betting in a competitive and tricky market that represents good value with a big field a certainty. Sitcom and Snap Tie are expected to give good accounts and Shrapnel may prove to be good value at 14/1.
The Goffs Land Rover Bumper is the first flat race of the festival and with top trainers Willie Mullins and A P O’Brien due to field runners, there is sure to be a captivating market. Moyle Park won impressively over this distance latest and should head the market at about 5/2. Harvey Logan should improve on his second place finish last month and give a good account. The Game Changer and Classic Move are two more who symbolise good value on the back of stylish wins.
Western Boy showed promise when finishing ½ length behind Private Treasure in a 2m flat race at Limerick last time and should improve here in the Finlay Motor Group Flat Race. Very Wood and Some Hawk are good value for money, whilst the unraced pair, Wicklow Brave and Windsor Park are both highly regarded and from top yards.
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The five day festival will feature 11 Grade One contests, and CORAL will feature their Top Industry Price Boost on leading fancies each day of the festival from 12 noon*, as well as great ENHANCED price specials. This includes Sprinter Sacre, Sir Des Champs, Solwhit, Hurricane Fly & Our Conor. To bet now with Coral Click Here