Punchestown Festival Target For Benie Des Dieux After Cheltenham Withdrawal

Benie Des Dieux

Leading trainer Willie Mullins unfortunately admitted yesterday that Cheltenham festival winner Benie Des Dieux will miss the meeting in March and he will now try and get her right for the Punchestown Festival.

Benie Des Dieux is a very versatile 10 year old that has eight clearcut wins for her trainer which include four Grade One successes, one of them over fences.

She landed the Grade One Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival back in 2018 beating the then superb Apple's Jade with ease and although falling at the last in the 2019 event, she would have bolted up again.

Last season before heading back to the festival she only had one at Gowran Park, which is more than she did the season before on her lead up to Cheltenham, and she got off the mark in style when landing the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle by 21 lengths.

The mare headed to the festival seeking redemption in the Mares Hurdle and unfortunately it did not pan out being beaten by the unbeaten mare Honeysuckle.

This season she had options of The Mares Hurdle, Stayers' Hurdle and also the new Mares Chase but will not be taking any of them up with her handler explaining she will not be heading to Cheltenham.

(Credit ATR) Mullins said: “Benie Des Dieux hasn’t been pleasing me in our quest to get her to Cheltenham and regrettably we have had to make the decision to withdraw her from the Festival.

“I’ll try to get her to make Punchestown, but we’ll have to see how things go.

“It’s very disappointing for everyone as we thought she would make it to Cheltenham, but unfortunately time just ran out.”