Day One Punchestown Festival Preview - 26/04/22

James Mackie

Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 14:40
7
Paul Townend

Grangee

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 130
Days: 9

The first race of the 2022 Punchestown festival sees the Listed Mares' Novice Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and Grangee for Willie Mullins looks the value.

An extremely smart bumper horse last year winning three of her six events including the Grade Two Mares bumper at the Dublin Racing festival and a Grade Three event at this meeting last year.

Sent over hurdles this term, she made a nice debut at Fairyhouse when landing a maiden comfortably but then went into Grade One company against the other sex and was beaten by Mighty Potter and Three Stripe Life.

Falling at Fairyhouse after that back against her own sex she was looking to bounce back to form and she did so at the Cheltenham festival when a good third in the G2 Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Last time out when up in trip at Fairyhouse in the Grade One Mares Novice Hurdle she faded into sixth not getting the full 2m4f.

Now back down to her preferred trip she looks the value with Paul Townend back on board.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y11-4PU
17/04/22FAI20.5Y11-56
17/03/22CHL17Sft11-23
29/01/22FAI18.5Gd/Y10-13F
27/12/21LEO16Y/Sft11-54
Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 15:15
4
Paul Townend

Sir Gerhard

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-12
OR: 155
Days: 41

The first feature race of the afternoon is the Grade One Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle and although a short price, Sir Gerhard should not be beat.

The seven year old son of Jeremy was a smart bumper horse last term, landing his first three events in taking style including winning the Champion Bumper, he rounded off last season with a tame third at this festival.

Sent hurdling this term the £400,000 purchase won a 18 runner maiden at Leopardstown on Boxing Day and then next time out over the same course and distance landed the Grade One Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He was last seen stepping up to 2m5f for the first time in his career but having won over three miles comfortably in his point to point he showed he got the trip and went on to land the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

Dropping back to two miles will not be an issue and having won both quick and slower ground in his career, he looks to be one of the most exciting horses in training.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y11-123
16/03/22CHL21Sft11-71
06/02/22LEO16Y/Sft11-121
26/12/21LEO16Sft12-01
28/04/21PUN16.5Y12-23
Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 15:50
14
L P Dempsey

Ardla

J: L P Dempsey
T: M Halford
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 10-5
OR: 125
Days: 94

The first handicap over the week at the Irish track sees the 2m 1/2 Grade B Handicap Hurdle and with a big field heading to post we have picked out two horses at each way prices.

The first is the seven year old Ardla for Mick Halford who has taken to hurdles superbly this season and now tackling his first handicap looks to have some weight up his sleeve.

Running on the flat and in bumpers he has been an average horse but since meeting obstacles this term and has looked a much better prospect.

Making his hurdles debut over two miles at the Punchestown track he was a smart second of 22 behind Grand Jury for Henry De Bromhead.

He then went to Navan and got of off the mark in taking style beating a nice horse in Deploy The Getaway for Willie Mullins.

Ardla was last seen back in third behind Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle winner Banbridge in a novice hurdle.

Making his handicap debut off a mark of 125 makes him extremely interesting.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
15/05/22KLN17Gd11-03
26/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y10-510
22/01/22NAV16Y11-43
18/12/21NAV16Gd/Y12-01
23/11/21PUN16Gd/Y12-02
Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 15:50
4
Rachael Blackmore

Gua Du Large

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 10-13
OR: 133
Days: 39

At a bigger price in the race is the Henry De Bromhead trained Gua Du Large, who has shown enough this term to make you think his price of 14/1 looks to be value.

A second season hurdler the six year old made his seasonal return at Down Royal in October when being pulled up on soft ground.

He put that run behind in next time out when getting his preferred better ground, which he gets again on Tuesday and he got off the mark for the term when taking a 18 runner handicap hurdle, seeing off the likes of Glan, Magic Tricks and Sit Down Lucy, who he takes on again.

Last seen when midfield in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival off a mark of 137, he is 4lb lower for this assignment and getting back to the form of his Fairyhouse win makes him interesting at a double figure price.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16.5Gd/Y10-137
18/03/22CHL17GS10-1113
28/11/21FAI16Gd10-51
30/10/21DRO17Sft10-13PU
30/04/21PUN16Y12-04
Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 16:25
4
Paul Townend

Energumene

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-12
OR: 175
Days: 41

Another feature event of the day is the Grade One William Hill Champion Chase and Energumene for Willie Mullins will be very tough to beat.

A three time Grade One winner, all of which coming over the larger obstacles, he only ran once over hurdles showing the sign of intent to get him over fences, the team knew early on his future would lay as a chaser, and he has proved them right so far.

A smart novice chaser, winning all four of his events with his Grade One victories in the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival and this meeting last year showing just how special he is.

This term going into opening company he landed the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase at Cork before taking on Shishkin at Ascot in the G1 Clarence House Chase and in what was the jumps race of the season he was narrowly denied close home.

Looking to reverse the form he did just that when last seen at the Cheltenham festival winning Mullins' first ever Champion Chase.

He is the horse to beat if in the same form, but Chacun Pour Soi from the same stable is the big danger.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-121
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-101
22/01/22ASC17Sft11-72
05/12/21COR16.5Sft12-01
29/04/21PUN16Y11-121
Punchestown - April 25 2022
Punchestown 17:35
2
Rachael Blackmore

Bob Olinger

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

The final selection of the afternoon from us 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.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN24.5Gd/Y11-10PU
17/03/22CHL20Sft11-41
16/01/22PUN20Sft11-31
20/11/21GOW20Sft12-01
17/03/21CHL21GS11-71

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