The Punchestown Festival kicks off on Tuesday and it promises to be spectacular. The best really has been saved for last, with no less than 12 Grade 1 races to look forward too. Plenty of the stars are out to play, including Honeysuckle, Envoi Allen and Monkfish.
We’ll have horse racing tips for all the action, but champion trainer Willie Mullins has assembled a super-squad for day one. He has nineteen entries on Tuesday and I’ve sifted through all of them, to find the four horses that could kick-start your Punchestown. Find them below!
4.15 Punchestown – Blue Lord
No matter how you look at this contest, it’s a two-horse race between Echoes In Rain and Blue Lord. Both trained by Mullins, the latter is ridden by Paul Townend and edges the verdict. A winner in France, he’s been aimed high since winning his Irish debut back in November.
Three Grade 1 assignments thereafter have seen him run to a very good standard and he would have finished a clear second in the Supreme had he not fallen at the final flight. On ratings, he’s the one to beat and as a good ground winner in France, the ground is of no concern.
4.50 Punchestown – Gentleman De Mee
This is a very competitive handicap on paper, but it could be solved by Gentleman De Mee. He made a winning Irish debut at Naas back in February, making all in impressive fashion despite being too keen. He was sent off 4/1 favourite for his next start in the Martin Pipe, but he was once again too keen and didn’t get home over 2m 4f.
It was still a pleasing run, however, and he should be much happier back down at two miles. Jody McGarvey takes over in the saddle and with a strong pace to aim at in this big-field handicap, he could take another big step in the right direction.
5.25 Punchestown – Allaho
Another Grade 1, and another race that is dominated by the Mullins camp. Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho lock horns in what promises to be a titanic tussle, with our Tuesday NAP of the Day Allaho favoured. He’s been a revelation since forcing tactics were employed over 2m 4f, posting an enormous RPR of 179 when landing the Ryanair at the Festival.
Always travelling well, he took up the lead after the third and dominated the contest. Jumping serenely and always well in command, cutting back even further in trip shouldn’t inconvenience him. Possessing a high cruising speed, if he’s allowed to dictate terms under Rachel Blackmore, he won’t be coming back to them late on.
6.30 Punchestown – Monkfish
The race of the meeting for many, as Monkfish and Envoi Allen lock horns over three miles in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase. Envoi Allen makes the step up in distance and needs to prove his stamina. He should stay the distance, but Monkfish is the proven commodity and it’s perhaps unsurprising that punters are siding with him.
He’s a perfect four out of four over fences, with three of those victories being at Grade 1 level. His most recent Festival success wasn’t his most polished performance, but he produced another RPR of 170 and any chinks in his armour have yet to be exposed. Conditions will be fine and despite a small drift in the market, he’s an obvious contender.
If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or racingpost.com. Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.