The 5-day Punchestown Festival starts on Tuesday 28th April, and this year promises to be an absolute humdinger with many of this year’s Willie Mullins trained Cheltenham Festival winners looking to double-up in what is the highlight of the Irish National Hunt calendar.
The Festival is not all about the horses though and, if you ever get the chance, you should add a visit to your bucket list. The atmosphere is incredible, with live entertainment, family fun, food and a few million pints of Guinness all adding to electric ambience.
There’s no official dress code at the Punchestown Festival, though many race goers see it as the perfect occasion to get dressed to the nines and party in style. There is however a “Best Dressed Lady Competition,” which many of Ireland’s most stylish ladies will be quietly competing for.
And here are just of the equine superstars you can expect to see in action over the 5 days.
Supreme Novice Hurdler Douvan should confirm his superiority in the 2-mile novice hurdle division in the Herald Champion Novice, whilst Vatour has been pencilled in to step out of Novice company for the first time to try and win the prestigious Boylesports Champion Chase. Willie Mullins will probably make it a big race opening day hat-trick with Don Poli in the Growise Champion Novice Chase.
The Punchestown Gold Cup has been earmarked for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2nd and 3rd Djakadam and Rags To Riches – and it should be a fascinating rematch.
Race goers are in for a real treat in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle as both Hurricane Flt and Jezki try 3-miles for the first time, as does English raider Rock On Ruby, whilst last year’s winner Jetson could double-up if none of the principals get the 3-mile trip. Un De Sceaux may also make an appearance in the Ryanair Novice Chase.
Champion Hurdler Faugheen will probably raise the roof if he takes the Punchestown Champion Hurdle – and he should have little difficulty as most of his rivals are side-stepping the rematch.
Last, but by no means least, super-mare Annie Power will be bidding to atone for her last fence fall at Cheltenham – and should have little difficulty winning the Mares Champion Hurdle if staying on her feet.
If that’s got your pulse racing, you’ll be pleased to know I’ll be posting a big race analysis each day, whilst Big Race Bookie Busters will be seeking some major big race winners throughout the 5 days.