Who To Follow On Day One At Punchestown - 26/04/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 17:35
Rachael Blackmore

Bob Olinger

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 160
Days: 40

Our best selection of the afternoon comes in the final Grade One on the opening day which is the Champion Novice Chase over three miles.

We have sided with the Henry De Bromhead trained Bob Olinger who is a superstar already in his career and is now looking to put himself in the category of the greats.

Back in November 2019 the five year old won an Irish maiden at Turtulla by 15 lengths and was bought and given to De Bromhead off the back of it.

At Gowran Park in March 2020 he made his rules debut in a bumper and again showed clear talent to take the 2m2f event by 10 lengths, seeing off nice types for Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.

He was sent back to Gowran Park for his hurdles debut when him and Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow breezed away from the rest of the pack and he narrowly finished runner up behind the Cheveley Park horse.

He was then stepped up in trip at Navan in a maiden hurdle over 2m4f and he was an emphatic winner of the race beating a minor field by 14 lengths.

Next time out he was sent into the Grade One Lawlor Of Naas Novices' Hurdle and he breezed away from a good field to land the event by close to seven lengths.

He rounded off his season in total style when landing the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, seeing off the likes of Gailliard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame by close to eight lengths.

Throughout last term he showed speed and stamina and he retained that on his seasonal debut at Gowran Park when jumping a fence for the first time under rules and going on to win by close to seven lengths.

Given some time to brush up on his jumping he was seen for the first time since November and went on to take the Grade Three Kildare Novice Chase.

It was all systems to go for the Cheltenham festival and although extending his run of wins it was a fortunate result with Galopin Des Champs set to win easily but fell at the last.

Nevertheless, Galopin Des Champs has since franked the form and with Bob Olinger coming back with an issue after the race you can see why he was below par.

Said to be back to his best it is interesting to see him go up to three miles and overall if at his best on this drying ground he should beat this field.


Trainer To Follow - Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins has had a fantastic season to date and things could finish with a bang at the Punchestown festival with plenty of his big guns set to have one more outing before the end of the term.

In the opening race he fields Dinoblue, Grangee and Instant who all have strong chances off the back and then in the first Grade One of the day he has the top two in the market with Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo.

He has four chances in the Handicap Hurdle with Hybery, Tempo Chapter Two, Tax For Max and Farout all in with chances, especially the latter on the best of his form.

Other big shouts for the Closutton maestro include Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase, Rocco Ray and Elle Klassycco in the bumper and Capodanno in the Champion Novice Chase.

Mullins heads into the event in fine form with 13 winners from 53 runners over the last two weeks which sees him pose a 25% strike rate.

Jockey To Follow - Mark Walsh

Mark Walsh has been one of the leading riders in Ireland throughout the season and on the first day of the Punchestown festival he has a handful of smart rides.

In the opener he sits on Dinoblue who bounced back to form in a big way last time out when a close fourth in a Grade One and can go close again now in Listed company.

He again sits in the fav in the Grade B Handicap Hurdle with Glan looking to make it back to back wins having took a big fielded event last time out.

Other nice shouts for the rider include Andy Dufresne in the Champion Chase and Capodanno in the Champion Novice Chase.