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Punchestown Festival Preview

Punchestown Festival Preview
Tuesday,April 26,2016

After Cheltenham and Aintree comes Punchestown. The Irish Festival is the grande finale of the jump season with top class horses, trainers and jockeys from both sides of the Irish Sea converging on the Kildare venue to settle scores and confirm reputations.



We're guaranteeing £500 every day in our classic pools, starting with Day 1 on Tuesday - if you're new to our Racing Pools or an old hand, there's little doubt it's more fun when you're in the pools while watching the greatest jumps horses in the world go at it.



Tuesday opens the Festival with 3 Grade 1 races. Yorkhill (4-9) looks to complete a hat-trick of Grade 1 races as he heads the betting in the 2m Novice Hurdle and Vautour, diverted from the Gold Cup, lines up as 1-4 favourite in the 2m Champion Chase. The Grade 1 3m 1f Novice Chase sees Grand National winner Rule The World (6-1) line up in a strong field of nine where the Mullins (who else?) trained Outlander (5-2) leads the market.


Cue Card (1-2) is set to go off a short-priced favourite against six rivals in the Punchestown edition of the Gold Cup on Wednesday. With Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack ruled out on Sunday and the aforementioned Vautour diverted, what looked set to be a mouthwatering clash has fallen somewhat flat.


Mullins does still pose the biggest threat to Colin Tizzard's star, though, as he runs Djakadam (13-2) and Don Poli (6-1). However both will need to show significant improvement as neither proved a match for Cue Card at Aintree.


Wednesday also features the hotly contested Irish Champion Bumper and the Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle run over 3 miles with the Mullins trained Bellshill (2-1) heading the market in the latter. Moon Racer, winner of the Cheltenham Bumper last season, makes a highly anticipated return in the Bumper.


Thursday’s card has two Grade 1 highlights: the Stayers Hurdle and the 2m Novice Chase not to mention the famous La Touche Cross Country race. Vroum Vroum Mag (2-1), withdrawn at Sandown, could be targeted at the Stayers Hurdle with its €118,000 prize.



Friday’s highlights include the 2m 5f Novice Handicap Chase with top-rated 7 y-o Kylemore Lough looking the most likely prospect. Annie Power (1-6) heads the market in the 2m Champion Hurdle and the feature races conclude with a competitive 2m 4f Champion Novice Hurdle.


The Saturday card includes the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle for 4 year olds. Apple’s Jade (8-11) and Ivanovich Gorbatov (3-1) are set to renew rivalries for the third time. The Cheltenham placings were reversed last time out and the betting suggests that the Aintree winner Apple’s Jade is the stronger prospect.


Jump into our Punchestown i-pools this week with £500 guaranteed each day in our classic games. Plus we’re relaunching our 10-max competitions: you and nine others; one entry per person with prizes for the top two. I-pools - more ways to bet different.


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