Today sees the start of the Punchestown Festival in Kildare Ireland. Considered the Grand Finale of the jump season, here you will find the top class horses, trainers and Jockeys from the UK and Ireland. Proud to be called the home of Irish National Hunt Racing and tomorrow, hosting seven races starting at 3.40 with the last at 7.15.
Tuesday is the opening day of the festival, there are 3 grade 1 races including the Boylesports Champion Chase, The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle over 2 miles and the Growise Novice Chase over 3 miles. The Champion Chase being the Highlight of the first day, Willie Mullins has entered Vautour which is the bookies 2/5 favourite going into the festival, dropping back to a 2 mile run this time out and ridden by the three time Cheltenham Festival winner Ruby Walsh.
Other horses to watch out for in this race are the 2nd favourite Special Tiara priced at 9/2 with Coral this morning, and God's Own 8/1 with Coral and not to be overlooked is Nicky Henderson’s Simonsig with odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Today will also see the Aintree winner Rule the World back on the race track, still eligible to run in an Irish Novice Chase as he had no winners before Aintree. Running in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at 6.40, he’s not the favourite that honour goes to Henryville with odds today of 4/1 with Coral, followed closely by Noble Endeavour, odds of 7/1 with Coral and lastly, but not least the Willie Mullins trained Outlander with odds of 11/4 at Coral.
This leads up to the big race on Wednesday the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup Chase. The highlight of the festival calendar and hot from the Cheltenham Festival Willie Mullins has brought in his two gold cup runners Djakadam and Don Poli, the latter ridden by BJ Cooper the former as yet undecided in typical Mullins style. This should be a great race with Mullins’ horses yet again running up against old adversaries, can they beat their nemesis Cue Card today, which earlier this month beat them at Aintree. Also look out for CarlingfordLough, he’s in the running with good odds of 16/1 with Coral Cue Card being the favourite with odds at 3/2 with Bet365 followed closely by Djakadam with odds of 10/1 and Don Poli at 9/1, both with Coral. Prices are good today so get in early.