Punchestown Gold Cup Guide

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1. Al Boum Photo

T - Willie Mullins

J - Paul Townend

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner - breaking the duck for trainer Willie Mullins, was a standout winner of the Festival feature for the highly-talented Paul Townend, who keeps the ride.

Few sketchy jumps but clearly did not hinder his confidence through the race, and it is now good to see the real Al Boum Photo away from the falls, spills, tumbles and drama - which many may recall what happened at this meeting last year in the Champion Novice Chase.

Big clash against his stablemate Kemboy beckons.

2. Bellshill

T - Willie Mullins

J - David Mullins

Andrea & Graham Wylie have had such wretched luck recently with their stablestars, and Bellshill gave them a bit of joy when taking the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown ahead of Noel Meade's Road To Respect back in February.

Ruby chose to ride him in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, but after a couple of early blunders he opted to pull him up preserving the horse's welfare.

If back to his best - which is on home soil, perhaps he can put his best hoof forward once again, which saw him take this race twelve months ago under this jockey. On that basis, he's definitely a contender.

3. Definitly Red

T - Brian Ellison

J - Danny Cook

Brian Ellison opted to not send Definitly Red to Aintree after the horse was found to be feeling one or two effects from his collision in the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March.

He was brought down at the tenth fence as the field approached the completion of the first circuit, and he seemed to be going well.

The ten-year-old has a decent prep for the big race until being turned over by Captain Redbeard in a match-up at Kelso, and will look to make his first trip to Ireland since winning a point back in 2013 a successful one.

4. Kemboy

T - Willie Mullins

J - Ruby Walsh

Out of luck in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when unseating at the first via a lack of room, but bounced back in sensational style in the Betway Bowl at Aintree, comfortably clear of King George winner Clan Des Obeaux.

One would ponder where he would have finished in the Festival highlight back in March, but we could have a pre-2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup in this contest here with the two fit and raring to go.

They certainly represent Ireland's best, and Kemboy can continue on this incredible run of victories when standing up to his fences, which included his standout win in the Savills Chase over Christmas.

5. Monalee

T - Henry De Bromhead

J - Rachael Blackmore

Consistent type in terms of placed finishes, and for a horse that does not win that often, he is usually there or thereabouts in the biggest races around.

He deserved his victory in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase ahead of subsequent Gold Cup runner up Anibale Fly - who clearly wants further as seen in the Grand National.

Was part of the chaos in the Champion Novice Chase of twelve months ago, and returns to compete over three miles, which last saw him finish second to Kemboy over Christmas.

6. Snow Falcon

T - Noel Meade

J - Sean Flanagan

Back for more after below-par at Fairyhouse in the Devenish Chase just over a week ago, when he was well beaten in a Grade Two field.

Posts good form in the book so you could consider than an off day, but he will need to bounce back in considerable style if troubling the leaders in this one.

Victories at Down Royal and most notably in the Kerry National at Listowel this season.

7. Sub Lieutenant

T - Henry De Bromhead

J - Jack Kennedy

Course and distance winner from October, when he took the Grade Three Irish Daily Star Chase.

Beat the pensioner Outlander, and that is probably where we will leave that. Was a good second to Tout Est Permis however at Thurles in January, and an even better runner-up to runaway winner of the Topham - Cadmium.

Place claims at best, but an attractive price for many looking for something in that market.

8. The Storyteller

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Davy Russell

Hard to avoid it, but The Storyteller picked up the pieces in that action-packed contest at this meeting last year, which followed up his victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

No win since but has gone close in a couple of attempts - most recently in the Devenish Chase behind Jett and ahead of Snow Falcon.

Was pulled up in the Ryanair at Prestbury Park this season, and the top level has always proved a step too far.

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