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A remarkable catalog of the most brilliant talent traits of jump racing as an entry for the 12 Grade 1 Race at the Punchtown Festival has been released today.
Expectations are being raised for what is being billed as ‘The Great Comeback’ as the five-day Punchtown Festival starts on Tuesday 26th April and will run until Saturday 30th April.
Quality is the hallmark in all categories to bring another former Grade 1 winner, host of Cheltenham and Entry winners, elite champions and future Panchetown Festival stars to the screen for another thrilling season of jump racing.
The dream heavyweight clash between record-breaking champion, dual champion hurdle winner and 2021 Paddy Power champion hurdle winner Hanisakal and the pretender of his throne, Constitution Hill is still in the pipeline.
The five-day carnival draws attention to a number of delicacies, but Honeyhill’s potential has taken the entire racing world to Tenterhooks in such an arena and with so many risks.
On Friday, April 29, the feature attracted a total of ten entries, with Henderson also choosing to make an entry for Apatente, as the predecessor to the Honeysuckle champion Cheltenham champion hurdle winner, who chased his home in March before recording an impressive victory in the entry hurdle on Saturday.
Gordon Elliott enters Teahupoo and Zanahiyr. The former Cheltenham champion was frustrated at Hurdle when it was highly anticipated, but while in the fray, Entry Hurdle was a brave third of Janahiya before falling on the last flight.
Elliott enjoyed a very strong campaign, five home Grade 1, two Cheltenham successes and then a stunning Grade 1 double entry on Saturday, the day Delta Work finished third at the Grand National.
She has many fond memories of the Punchtown Festival and emphasizes it as one of the top priorities of her year.
“We’ve entered all of the Grade 1 races in Punchtown and we’ll be well represented throughout the week,” Elliott said.
“This is our season-ending festival in Ireland and a great five days. We’ve had some luck there in the past and hopefully we can finish the season with heights. This is where my owners want to be runners and this is where I want to be runner.
“We had two winners at Cheltenham and two Grade 1 winners at Entre and the horses are doing well. We haven’t always had good luck in the last few weeks but many horses who didn’t win hit the crossbar and finished second so it was great to be among the big winners at Aintri and see Delta Work and run very well at Escaria Ten National.
“We had a great day in Panchetown. It is a bright place and they have a great team on track and behind the scenes and they provide beautiful ground which is very important at this time of year.
“My memories of Panchetown come back. I won a Grade 1 champion bumper on Kings Road in 1998 for Nigel Twiston-Davis. Winning Grade 1 as a jockey was a great thrill for me and it was another great day… though not today or yesterday!
“We won the race with Fayonagh then in 2017 when he doubled Cheltenham / Punchtown which was another great day. He was a special horse.
“I will never forget the day Don Cossack won the Panchetown Gold Cup in 2015. I did not keep secret how much I thought of Don Cossack and he showed how tough and talented he was that day after finishing third at Cheltenham and winning. He is still back at Aintree. And one of his best performances to win at Punchtown. “
Three Stripe Life was among Elliott’s Liverpool Leviathan and the six-year-old added another great line-up in Friday’s Grade 1, Alana Homes champion Nevis Hurdle, where he could be joined by Minela Kroner, who is also among the Irish Mirror Nevis Hurdle entries.
“I hope every newborn has a runner in the fray. Three Stripe Life was great at Entry and will be going up the fence next season so he can go to Punchtown but again, he’ll tell us in the next few days. He really is a horse waiting for next season.
“Minela Kroner has options for Alana Holmes and Irish Mirror Novis Hurdles. It was disappointing that he suffered a blow just before Cheltenham but it was too short. We were forced to miss a few days with her at the wrong time but she will now move to Fresh Punchtown and I have been happy with her for the past few weeks and I look forward to getting her back. “
Sir Gerhard has denied three stripe life at the Dublin Racing Festival and Grade 1 level at Cheltenham and he has also been included in the entry for Alana Homes champion Nevis Hurdle. Other top-tier winners from Willie Mullins Yard, The Nice Guy and Minela Cochrane could also line up, with entry-level 1 winner Janban Nicky Henderson and champion owner JP McManus another chance to be represented.
The Punchstown Festival kicked off on Tuesday, April 26th with three Grade 1s, BECTIVE STUD CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLE it all started. Constitution Hill, Sir Gerhard, Three Stripe Life and Jonbone have entered the competition, while County Hurdle winner State Man will be an attractive contender.
Three Stripe Life colleague Culentra Bandi, Mighty Potter has done better than her at the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hardle in Leopardstown at Christmas but will be on the redemption trail after being pulled to Cheltenham’s Supreme.
“Mighty Potter did not run his race in Cheltenham but came home well and he will definitely go to Punchtown and I want to get a big winner there for his owners, Andrew and Jema Brown.
“We also have Phil Dorr for them and he will go for the four-year-old Balimore champion on Saturday. He’ll have to try to turn the table around with Wouban, who beat him at the Cheltenham and Dublin racing festivals, but we’ll leave it at that. Punchtown is a different kind of test and we will be happy if he can run his race. “
Other Grade 1s on Tuesday include Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Chase and William Hill Champion Chase.
The latter could only attract seven entries but it does offer the possibility of a resumption of competition with Cheltenham champion Energumen with his close-knit stablemate Chacon Por Soy, who came in at number five in Prestbury Park and has a great Punchtown Festival record. Along with Joseph O’Brien-trained entry Grade 1 winner Fakir D’Udairis, another stable, Rainier Chase winner Allah is also included.
Meanwhile, Dooley Insurance offers the possibility of a great rematch between Novice champion Chase Gallopin des Champs and Bob Olinger, where the former Turner fell to the end at the mercy of Navis Chase. Bob Olinger picked up the pieces but later reported that coach Henry D. Bromhead had a muscle injury.
There are three more Grade 1 prizes on Wednesday, April 27. The most glamorous dish on the menu is probably the LADBROKES PUNCHESTOWN GOLD CUP, in which Paul Nichols-trained defending champion Clan Des Obeaux is trying to make a remarkable ‘double double’. ‘, Repeating its Betway Bowl success 12 months ago on Aintree last week. His daring, forward-looking efforts at last year’s Ladbrooks Panchestown Gold Cup were one of the highlights of the week.
Dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Al Baum Photo was a length-and-a-half second at the event, probably his Cheltenham successor Minella Indo, who finished second in this year’s Stability Renewal, a plus tard.
Another Grade 1-winning chaser set to take part is Gordon Elliott-Prep Galvin, who finished just two and a half miles behind Minela Indore in fourth place last month. Elliott also made an entry into Delta Work, which followed Tiger Roll’s cross-country chase defeat with a very bold run in Saturday’s Grand National.
“Galvin Ladbrooks is at the Panchetown Gold Cup and hopefully he’ll be there,” Elliott said.
“He has responded to every call for us this season and earned his crack in the Gold Cup. He runs well, he finishes fourth, and if we can get him back to Punchtown, he’s in pretty good form, and it would be nice to see him go to a race like this again before the summer. Holiday Delta Work has probably done enough for the season but we’ll chat with Michael and Eddie. They are very playful in how they enter and they let the horse tell us how close he is to time. “
The exciting RACE & STAY champion Cheltenham champion in the PUNCHESTOWN INH flat race offers the possibility of another exciting reunion in the form of bumper Facil Vega and American Mike, who was a brave runner up.
Sire du Berlais performed a career-best performance on Aintree on Saturday claiming the scalp of a dual stair hurdle hero flooring porter, and Elliott will see how JP McManus, a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner, recovers from that hard work before he decides to like it. Its Coral Cup-winning stable assistant commander of the fleet, as well as the classical Dream, Thyme Hill and Emma Lovell-trained former champion Stear, on Thursday, April 26, at the Ladbrooks champion Stairs Hurdley Paisley Park.
“Sir du Barless probably surprised me a bit but he had the form to show this kind of performance and it was great to have him back in it,” Elliott encouraged.
“He beat a very good horse in the flooring porter and we were glad. He’s at the Ladbrooks Champions Stairs in Punchtown and we’ll see how he comes home from Liverpool in the next few days and I’ll talk to JP McManus and Frank Berry and see what we do.
“We’ve got a Commander of the Fleet there too and he deserves to take his chances after Cheltenham. He’s a horse we’ve always loved and he’s good and tough at Cheltenham and has a ticket to Punchtown. “
Gentleman D.M. has lost color to last week’s Arkel Chase winner Edwardstone in Entry, and he is leading a seven-strong Willy Mullins team at the Barberstone Castle Nevis Chase, which includes Dublin Racing Festival Grade 1 winners, Blue Lord and Gavin Cromwell’s runner-up. -You are Gabinaco, who finished just ahead of the Blue Lord at Cheltenham.
A gorgeous banquet concludes on Saturday, April 30, with two Grade 1s. The second is the above-mentioned Balimore champion four-year hurdle, featuring Nicky Henderson Apatent as well as Cheltenham Mers hurdle winner Mary’s Rock in the Culmore Irish EBF Meres champion hurdle.
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