James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Punchestown - April 24 2023
Punchestown 14:40
Jordan Gainford


J: Jordan Gainford
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 128
Days: 40

The first race of the afternoon at Punchestown on Tuesday is the Listed Mares Novice Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and Shecouldbeanything for Gordon Elliott might be the value in the field.

A bumper winner on rules debut at Limerick in November when winning comfortably, she then went up in trip at the same track over Christmas on hurdles debut and made it back to back wins.

Sent to Punchestown in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle she finished a fair third behind the extremely talented Impaire Et Passe.

Last seen at the Cheltenham festival when running a solid race to grab sixth in the Grade Two Mares' Novices' Hurdle, she only finished 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

This looks much easier and although having to beat the favourite Night And Day, she has the form to do so having proved slightly more so far this season.

Punchestown - April 24 2023
Punchestown 15:15
Paul Townend

Facile Vega

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 151
Days: 42

The first Grade One of the 2023 Punchestown Festival is the Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and Facile Vega can start his redemption mission.

Superstar bumper horse last season winning all four of his events including two Grade Ones in the Champion Bumpers at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festival, showing throughout the season a high cruising speed and also a gritty determination to win when asked off the bridle.

Facile Vega was the talking horse heading into this season going over hurdles and he was fairly impressive on his first two starts winning at Fairyhouse on debut and then taking his first Grade One over timber at Leopardstown at Christmas.

However, when well backed at the DRF in the Tattersalls Irish Novice Hurdle he chucked in the worse performance of his career finishing fifth of six runners, going too hard out in front and ultimately finishing 20 lengths behind the winner Il Etait Temps.

Trying to get back on track when last seen at the Cheltenham festival in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, he was much more back to himself running a cracker to finish second behind Marine Nationale.

Facile Vega maybe got to the front a bit early the last day, but with this race lacking as much depth as the Supreme and his closest challengers having to reverse the form with him, he is the one to beat.

Punchestown - April 24 2023
Punchestown 15:50
Simon Torrens


J: Simon Torrens
T: W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 10-3
OR: 130
Days: 42

The next event on Tuesday is the Grade B Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and we are giving another chance to the four year old Tekao, who does need to learn to settle, but if doing so is well in off this mark of 130.

Bought from France and given to Willie Mullins wearing those famous green and gold silks for JP McManus, he made his hurdles/Irish debut over 2m at Navan when third behind Comfort Zone who has since come out and won back to back Grade Twos at Chepstow in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle and Cheltenham in the Triumph Trial.

He was very keen that day and again next time out did not settle all that well but still went on to get off the mark at Leopardstown over Christmas, it showed to us just how much ability he had doing loads wrong but still winning.

Seen for a third time this season at the DRF when running a cracker to finish third in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle behind stablemates Gala Marceau and Lossiemouth, Mark Walsh definitely thinking about his mark when close home never giving him a hard time behind the first two and he was only 12 1/2 lengths behind them.

Although 14lbs higher when last seen at the Cheltenham festival in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, he was well fancied off 135 but ultimately ruined his chances before the race began.

He was extremely buzzy, was keen all the way round which saw him made mistakes and overall what could have gone wrong did.

He does need to settle better and if he doesn't then he has no chance but on a mark of 130 he has the most potential in the field and we are hoping everything goes right for him.

Punchestown - April 24 2023
Punchestown 16:25
Paul Townend


J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 11-12
OR: 176
Days: 41

The second Grade One of the afternoon is the William Hill Champion Chase over two miles and if the same Energumene turns up here as he did Cheltenham, he takes all the beating.

Energumene has won 11 of his last 13 races, racking up five Grade One wins including the Champion Chase for the last two renewals.

He has suffered only two defeats over obstacles during his career and that came obviously when being beat on the line by Shishkin in what was Clarence House Chase last season at Ascot and in the same race this year but this time at Cheltenham.

That now looked a race that he needed ahead of the Cheltenham festival and it set him up perfectly in his title defence of the Champion Chase and he ran out a highly impressive winner, taking the race by 10 lengths

Energumene has pace but also stamina, he jumps beautifully and any rain that falls this week would play to his strengths.

The one to beat if in the same form and having won this race last year he is looking to join a small group of horses to land two renewals of this race.

Punchestown - April 24 2023
Punchestown 17:35
Rachael Blackmore

Journey With Me

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 151
Days: 44

The final selection of the afternoon on Tuesday comes in the Grade One Champion Novice Chase over 3m 1/2f and we are siding with Journey With Me who will improve for the step up in trip.

A horse that showed plenty of ability in his early days winning his PTP by 12 lengths and then on rules debut bolted up again at Gowran Park in tough conditions.

Sent hurdling in December 2021 over 2m4f at Leopardstown, he saw off two talented rivals in Minella Crooner and Kilcruit to land his first race over hurdles.

Backing that up at Naas in a Listed Novice Hurdle under a penalty, he was then sent into the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and although he would have been beaten, he took the first fall of his career.

Stepped up to three miles at the Punchestown festival he never really got involved and it was a tame end to a promising season.

Sent chasing this term he looked to need his debut massively looking like he had never seen a fence in his life and ultimately two from home.

However, since then he has shown much better form, getting off the mark next time out when bolting up at Naas ahead of a next time out winner.

Improving again he was a 1/2 length second to the highly talented Impervious in the Grade Three Novice Chase at Punchestown over 2m 3 1/2f.

Back to winning ways at Naas in a Grade Three Novice Chase last time out, skipping the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, should leave him bang on for this event.