The quality of racing on the opening day of the 2014 Punchestown festival is described as “the best ever” following the Grade 1 declaration stage this morning.
Tuesday’s feature race the €200,000 Boylesports.com Champion Chase is a truly top quality renewal with a field of ten declared at the 48 hour stage. The home side have the favourite Hidden Cyclone, currently 7/2 with the sponsor, Mouse Morris’s Bailey Green, Savello from the Tony Martin stable, the Willie Mullins trained duo of Turban and Twinlight along with Henry De Bromhead’s former winner Sizing Europe and stable mate Days Hotel. However a top class trio of British raiders in the form of Cheltenham winner Ballynagour from David Pipes yard and Queen Mother Champion Chase runner up and third Somersby and Module may mean the trophy won last year by Sprinter Sacre could once again return to the UK.
Eleven times leading trainer at the festival Willie Mullins has entered Cheltenham star Faugheen along with stable mates Wicklow Brave and Valseur Lido in the €90,000 Herald Champion Novice Hurdle. Once again the visitors bring a top class team with the Mick Channon trained Sgt Reckless and david Pipe’s 2013 Punchestown Champion Bumper winner The Liquidator also declared at the 48 hour stage. Pat Fahy’s Western Born is joined by Real Steel and Quick Pick in the field of eight runners.
The third Grade 1 of the day the three mile Growise Novice Chase has seven declarations including 2013 Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror novice hurdle winner Morning Assembly. Pat Fahy’s charge has a very impressive strike rate at Punchestown with four wins and one third from a total of five runs. Carlingford Lough who held off Morning Assembly at Leopardstown last December will represent J.P McManus and the Gordon Elliott trained Don Cossack who finished second behind Morning Assembly at Punchestown last November will carry the Gigginstown colours. The duo Ballycasey and Mozoltov who both came to grief last time out at Fairyhouse will be joined by stable mate Djakadam for champion trainer Willie Mullins.
Punchestown Racing Manager Richie Galway commented “We are thrilled with the quality and calibre of the horses in the three grade 1 races and overall it looks like probably the strongest opening day we’ve ever had in terms of strength and depth as there are numerous top class horses with a chance in each race. It’s also great to see such a strong challenge from the UK”.
Following 3mm of rain the going at Punchestown is good to yielding on hurdle and chase course. Watering to maintain.
Herald Champion Novice H’dle (Grade
1 Faugheen(155) (WPMullins) - 11,12
2 Quickpick Vic(136) (AJMartin) - .(H) 11,12
3 Real Steel(142) (PFenton) - BTO’Connell(H) . 11,12
4 Sgt Reckless (GB)(146) (MChannon (inGB)) - APMcCoy. 11,12
5 The Liquidator (GB)(141) (DPipe (in GB)) - TScudamore 11,12
6 Valseur Lido (FR)(142) (WPMullins) . 11,12
7 Western Boy(143) (PAFahy) – DNRussell . 11,12
8 Wicklow Brave (GB)(145) (WPMullins) 11,12
Boylesports.com Champion S’chase
1 Baily Green(152) (MFMorris) - .(T) 11,12
2 Ballynagour(154) (DPipe (in GB)) -TScudamore(T) 11,12
3 Days Hotel(154) (Hde Bromhead) - 11,12
4 Hidden Cyclone(160) (JJHanlon) – AndrewJMcNamara (C) 11,12
5 Module (FR)(163) (TGeorge (in GB)) - BJGeraghty 11,12
6 Savello(152) (AJMartin) - DNRussell(H) 11,12
7 Sizing Europe(160) (Hde Bromhead) - AELynch(C) 11,12
8 Somersby(164) (MChannon (in GB)) - APMcCoy(C) 11,12
9 Turban (FR)(151) (WPMullins) - 11,12
10 Twinlight (FR)(157) (WPMullins) - 11,12
Growise Champion Novice S’chase
1 Ballycasey(155) (WPMullins) - 11,10
2 Carlingford Lough(150) (JEKiely) -APMcCoy 11,10
3 Don Cossack (GER)(152) (GElliott) -BJGeraghty(T) 11,10
4 Letter Of Credit(135) (JJMangan) - PFMangan(H) 11,10
5 Morning Assembly(153) (PAFahy) - DNRussell 11,10
6 Mozoltov (GB)(150) (WPMullins) -. 11,10
7 Djakadam (FR)(147) (WPMullins) 11,01