The times could also be ticking till the curtain is drawn on the 2021-22 soar racing season, however there’s nonetheless a lot to look ahead to earlier than the marketing campaign is over — with the Bounce Finale at Sandown on April 23rd bringing the UK season to an in depth, whereas the Punchestown Competition on the finish of the month will mark the top of Eire’s Nationwide Hunt marketing campaign.
Operating for six action-packed days on the outskirts of Dublin, the Punchestown Competition is usually dubbed Eire’s very personal model of Cheltenham. 40 races, 12 of that are Grade 1s, happen all through the assembly, with Irish racing’s star trainers and horses turning out in full power for the pageant.
The Punchestown Gold Cup, which takes place on the second of the six days, is the spotlight of the Irish Nationwide Hunt calendar and this yr’s renewal of the €275,000 race appears to be like set to be a cracker. So, with that in thoughts, learn on as we check out the favourites within the Punchestown Gold Cup’s ante-post market.
The two/1 favorite within the betting on horse racing on-line, Willie Mullins has entered Allaho in each the Champion Chase and the Gold Cup on the Punchestown Competition — nevertheless it appears the latter is the extra probably vacation spot for the Cheveley Park Stud-owned horse, as he’s behind stablemates Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi at 4/1 within the Champion Chase’s ante-post market.
Three for 3 this season — with victories within the Punchestown Chase, the Horse & Jockey Lodge Chase and the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham — the eight-year-old has actually not dissatisfied. Nonetheless, with an prolonged journey of simply over three miles — a distance Allaho has gained over simply as soon as in 5 makes an attempt — this will likely be an actual take a look at of his mettle, and it may swimsuit among the different entries extra.
Contemplating the journey, the Punchestown Gold Cup is arguably a race that fits Minella Indo greater than Allaho. The Henry de Bromhead-trained horse missed final April’s renewal, choosing up a stone bruise after his shock Cheltenham Gold Cup success, and hasn’t precisely lived as much as expectations up to now this season — but to win any of his 4 races (3P22).
The nine-year-old completed second in his final two outings are actually extra convincing after a poor begin to the season, nevertheless it’s value noting that Minella Indo was nicely crushed in these races — ending over six lengths behind Conflated within the Irish Gold Cup in February earlier than lagging 15 lengths behind A Plus Tard on the defence of his Cheltenham showpiece. He could possibly be there or thereabouts on this race although!
Clan Des Obeaux
Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux rolled again the years with a formidable outing on the latest Grand Nationwide Competition at Aintree earlier this month — holding off the extra fancied Conflated by a size to defend his Bowl title. It was a victory not many seen coming after ending second within the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day and third within the Denman Chase in February.
It has been confirmed that the 10-year-old, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, will certainly head to Punchestown — the place he’ll try to defend his Gold Cup crown after beautiful A Plus Tard final yr. Nonetheless, it should take one other epic run from Clan Des Obeaux if he’s to get the higher of the brisker Allaho and Minella Indo over in Eire.
After an important begin to the season — successful a Grade 3 Chase at Punchestown, ending an in depth second to Frodon within the Down Royal Champion Chase and beating A Plus Tard in a dramatic Grade 1 Savills Chase — lots was anticipated of Galvin within the Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, the Gordon Elliott-trained horse was a disappointing fourth — over 17 lengths behind the winner.
The Irish coach, who missed final yr’s Punchestown Competition because of his suspension from the game, will likely be out to land his justifiable share of winners this yr — particularly with racegoers set to return for the primary time since 2019. So, he’ll be hoping that the eight-year-old can bounce again within the Punchestown Gold Cup and placed on the form of efficiency that noticed him beat A Plus Tard earlier within the yr.