While the National Hunt season has drawn to a close in England, the top class action over the jumps isn’t quite over in Ireland with the Punchestown Festival.
A number of UK trainers are sending their horses over for the five-day spectacular and it promises to be a fantastic ending to what has been a memorable season. Here are the thoughts of our horse racing betting expert on all of the action.
I for one was absolutely gutted with the way Min ran in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. Yes, he probably wouldn’t have beaten Altior (I’m not sure any horse could!), but he ran so badly it was untrue. Thankfully the real Min turned up at Aintree in dominant fashion, destroying the field by 20 lengths in the Grade 1 Melling Chase over 2m4f. When he’s good, he’s very good and if Altior hadn’t been around, who knows what he might have won in his career.
He lines up in the Champion Chase and even though he is a short-priced favourite at 4/6, I really fancy him to make it back-to-back wins. He didn’t run much of a race 12 months ago, but if he’s in anything like the form he was at Aintree, an ageing Un De Sceuax or an out of sorts Footpad should be no match for him. It’s also hard to make a case for Douvan either as we haven’t seen him all season and will almost certainly need the run.
Take the 4/6 now and watch him pulverise his rivals.
Punchestown Gold Cup
My other selection was similarly impressive at Aintree. I was very keen on Kemboy for the Cheltenham equivalent, but he unfortunately unseated Danny Mullins at the first fence. However, he showed he is very much a staying chaser going places with a commanding victory in the Bowl in Liverpool and the reaction of Ruby Walsh after that win spoke volumes of how good this guy could be.
Make no mistake this won’t be easy with impressive Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo in opposition at 15/8. He is another exciting chaser of Willie Mullins and won’t be an easy nut to crack for sure, but I really think Kemboy has the potential to be something special and he is already my idea of next year’s Gold Cup winner.
Back the seven-year-old to win a third Grade One of the season at 13/8.