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25th September 2021

2021 Punchestown Festival Trends (27th April – 1st May 2021)

A huge week of National Hunt racing over in Ireland as the 5-day Punchestown Festival gets going on Tuesday 27th April through till Saturday 1st May 2021. Loads to look forward to, including the Punchestown Gold Cup, Champion Chase, Champion Stayers Hurdle and Punchestown Champion Hurdle. Plenty of top names from both sides of the Irish Sea in attendance so we are all set for a top-notch week - hold onto your hats!

Here at TRAINERS-QUOTES we've got all the games covered from a head-to-head angle, plus our best betting option on each match based on the stats.

 

DAY ONE – Tuesday 27th April 2021

 4.15 – EcOMM merchant solutions Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m 1/2f

8 of the last 15 runnings went to the favourite
8 of the last 14 winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 before
13 of the last 15 recent winners were priced 8/1 or shorter
8 of the last 15 returned 2/1 or shorter in the betting
No British-trained winner for 21 years (18 runners)
Supreme Novice Hurdle winners have only followed-up 4 times
14 of the last 15 were aged either 5 or 6 years-old
Willie Mullins won the prize in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 & 2019
Trainer Noel Meade has won the race in 2002, 2005, 2006 & 2008
Trainer Edward O’Grady has won the race in 2003, 2007 & 2011
16 of the last 20 winners came 1st or 2nd last time out

TQ VERDICT: This looks a straight shootout between the Willie Mullins pair – Echoes In Rain and Blue Lord. The former has improved bundles in his last two runs – winning well at Naas and Fairyhouse, and the form of those wins have been franked since. He beat Belfast Banter by 8 lengths back in February and that horse has since won at both Cheltenham and Aintree. However, I’ll just take BLUE LORD to edge this one. His form isn’t too shabby either – having run Cheltenham Festival winners – Appreciate It and Bob Olinger – close this season. Yes, he fell last time in the Supreme, but even though he’d not have won that day, he was staying on well in second and was likely booked for the silver medal slot that day. Unlike Echoes In Rain, he’s also a proven CD winner at the track and jockey Paul Townend prefers him too. Of the rest, Untred, Decup and Colonel Mustard can fight it out for third.

5.25 – william hill Champion Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) Winner €86,800 2m

6 of the last 17 runnings went to the favourite
16 of the last 21 winners came from the first three in the betting
French breds have won 8 of the last 13 runnings
14 of the last 18 returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
10 of the last 18 had previous won at the track
All of the last 18 winners had won before over 2m
14 of the last 18 came 1st or 2nd last time out
12 of the last 18 were Irish-trained winners
12 of the last 18 were aged 9 or younger
5 of the last 15 finished unplaced that season’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham
12 of the last 17 winners ran in the Queen Mother Champion Chase that season
7 of the last 17 winners ran in that season’s Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown)
Paul Nicholls won the race in 2008 & 2009
Willie Mullins won the race in 2010, 2015, 2018 & 2019

TQ VERDICT: Another top race to look forward too here and another that looks likely to be fought out with just a few runners. First Flow will be flying the flag for the Kim Bailey yard but even though this improving 9 year-old has had a top season, he was only sixth in the Champion Chase last time out, so has ground to make up on that form. The better English challenger should come from Nube Negra, who was an excellent second in the Champion Chase last time out – beaten just ½ a length. The form of that race has taken a knock and been given a boost, with the winner Put The Kettle On losing at the weekend, but the fourth – Greaneteen – won. Nube Negra has improved a lot this season and might have even won the last day had he not stumbled at the last – he can go well. But the Irish challenge is very strong too, with Chacun Pour Soi on a slight recovery mission after only running third in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham last time. But he’s back to a track he’s won at in the past and if you can forgive that last run, where perhaps the track wasn’t totally to his liking, then he’s a huge player. However, the call is for ALLAHO to continue his upward curve after impressing in the Ryanair Chase last time out. Yes, this is a drop back in trip, but the plus is that we know he stays further and if allowed to get a lead and into a rhythm up top then he might be hard to peg back. He’s the top-rated in the field at 174 (Chacun Pour Soi, 172), and the in-form Rachael Blackmore, who won on him last time out, is a further bonus in the saddle. Those looking to take him on, might also cling to the fact he’s run here at Punchestown twice and been beaten both times, but his last two runs have seen a huge improvement and the way he dominated last time out was hard to not be taken by.

DAY TWO – Wednesday 28th April 2021


5.55 – LADBROKES Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1)
(5yo+) 3m 1/2f

Recent Punchestown Gold Cup Winners

2020 – No race (Covid)
2019 – KEMBOY (13/8 fav)
2018 – BELLSHILL (4/1)
2017 – SIZING JOHN (9/10)
2016 – CARLINGFORD LOUGH (12/1)
2015 – DON COSSACK (5/2)
2014 – BOSTON BOB (5/2 fav)
2013 – SIR DES CHAMPS (2/1 fav)
2012 – CHINA ROCK (20/1)
2011 – FOLLOW THE PLAN (20/1)
2010 – PLANET OF SOUND (14/1)
2009 – NOTRE PERE (15/8 fav)
2008 – NEPTUNE COLLONGES (9/10 fav)
2007 – NEPTUNE COLLONGES (8/1)
2006 – WAR OF ATTRITION (4/5 fav)
2005 – KICKING KING (8/11 fav)
2004 – BEEF OF SALMON (5/4 fav)
2003 – FIRST GOLD (7/4 fav)

Punchestown Gold Cup Betting Trends

14/17 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
13/17 – Aged 8 or younger
13/17 – Irish-trained winners
12/17 – Aged 7 or 8 years-old
10/17 – Had run in that season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup
9/17 – Returned 2/1 or shorter in the betting
9/17 – Winning favourites
8/17 – Ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out
7/17 – Won last time out
4/17 - Trained by Willie Mullins (4 of the last 7)
2/17 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
The average winning SP in the last 17 years is 11/2
8 of the last 15 favourites have won
Nine of the last 12 Irish-trained favourites have won
Since 1999 only 2 Irish-trained winners hadn’t won at the course before
8 of the last 21 winners had run in that season’s John Durkan Memorial Chase

TQ VERDICT: The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner - Minella Indo - doesn't run, but we've still a cracking renewal. The current champ - Kemboy - is surprisingly the only CD winner in the field and after flopping in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham again, he'll be a different proposition now back on his home turf. He was a good winner of the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in Feb and saw off the two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner - Al Boum Photo - in this race last time it was run in 2019. Al Boum Photo lines up again and despite not managing to secure that third win at Cheltenham last month, it was still a top effort to be third and only beaten 5 1/2 lengths. He's a big player, but the niggle for me is that he's yet to win here at Punchestown from three runs, while he looked to have a hard race the last day which might have left it's mark.  Fakir D'oudairies bounced back to winning form last time at Aintree in the Marsh Chase, but the concern with him would be the trip - stepping up from 2m4f here to 3m 1/2f. Yes, he ran on well the last day to suggest it's worth another crack, but he's now taking on some top-class stayers. Melon just doesn't win enough for me, but on his day is very useful, so the call is for a British winner in the race with CLAN DES OBEAUX getting the call for Paul Nicholls. The former King George winner returned to form last time out with an easy win in the Betfair Bowl at Aintree and even though the track here at Punchestown is an unknown, he will like the ground and he's still the joint top-rated in the field, with Al Boum Photo - a chance is taken on him backing up that recent 26 length win at Aintree, where he had the likes of Native River and Tiger Roll miles back. If staying the trip Fakir D'oudairies would be interesting, but Kemboy rates the main danger for me at a track we know suits.


6.30 – ITM – Supporting Irish store sales Champion I.N.H Flat Race (Grade 1) (4-7yo) 2m

3 winning favourites in the last 15 years (1 joint)
14 of the last 16 were aged 5 or older
The Cheltenham Champion Bumper has produced 14 winners since 1992
14 of the last 28 winners finished 6th or better in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Cheltenham)
27 of the last 28 winners had raced 2 or more times before
Not many mares have run in the race, but 5 have won it since 1994
Trainer Noel Meade won the race in 2004, 2006, 2007
Trainer Willie Mullins won the race in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019
The Irish have won 14 of the last 16 runnings

TQ VERDICT: It will be a shock if - just like in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper - this isn't being fought out between the Willie Mullins pair of Kilcruit and SIR GERHARD again. The last-named came out on top that day, but many feel he got first run and with Kilcruit closing at the line things can be different here. I'm not so sure. I think the unbeaten Sir Gerhard was always doing enough in that Cheltenham race and having only had three runs under rules might just have more to come. Neither have run at the track before, so there is no real advantge on that score and it's also interesting that jockey Patrick Mullins, who has ridden Kilcruit in 3 of his 4 races, is on Sir Gerhard! Of the rest, Eric Bloodaxe and Lake Winniepsaukee can do best.

 

DAY THREE – Thursday 29th April 2021

 

4.50 – Mongey communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase (5yo+) 4m1f

6 winning favourites in the last 14 years (3 join/co)
Trainer Enda Bolger has won 13 of the last 21 runnings
10 of the last 14 winners returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
8 of the last 14 carried 12-2 or more
11 of the last 14 winners were aged 9 or older
6 of the last 14 winners ran in the race 12 months ago
20 of the last 25 winners returned 7/1 or shorter
10 of the last 14 winners ran in the Cheltenham Festival Cross Country race
Ballyboker Bridge won this race in 2019

TQ VERDICT: The 14 year-old Ballyboker Bridge won this race when it was last run in 2019, but certainly not getting any younger and is overlooked based on that. Course winner – Some Neck – can go well, having run well to be third in the Cheltenham Cross Country race last month – beaten 20 lengths behind Tiger Roll. He also had another of today’s runners – Alpha Des Obeaux – back in fourth that day and the way the last-named stayed on that day suggests this step up to 4m2f will suit. However, this has been a race top Cross Country trainer – Enda Bolger – has farmed in recent years. He’s won 13 of the last 21 renewals. He runs two in the race – Blue Templar and Stand Up And Fight. Both are proven course winners, but of the pair STAND UP AND FIGHT just edges it for me. The talented Derek O’Connor has been booked to ride and even though he ran poorly in the Foxhunters’ at Cheltenham, he bounced back with a fine second at Fairyhouse last time out. The longer trip looks interesting, but on this quicker ground that should give him every chance of staying the extra yardage. Of the rest, Major Destination and Call It Magic can’t be ruled out either.

 

5.25 - Ladbrokes.com Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) 3m


Past Ladbrokes.com Champion Stayers Hurdle Winners

2020 – No race (Covid)
2019 – UNOWHATIMEANHARRY (16/1)
2018 – FAUGHEEN (11/2)
2017 – UNOWHATIMEANHARRY (4/1)
2016 – ONE TRACK MIND (10/1)
2015 – JEZKI (5/2)
2014 – JETSON (20/1)
2013 – QUEVEGA (6/4 fav)
2012 – QUEVEGA (11/10 fav)
2011 – QUEVEGA (8/11 fav)
2010 – QUEVEGA (5/2 fav)
2009 – FIVEFORTHREE (5/4 fav)
2008 – BLAZING BAILEY (10/3 fav)
2007 – REFINEMENT (16/1)
2006 – ASAIN MAZE (8/13 fav)
2005 – CARLYS QUEST (25/1)
2004 – RHINESTONE COWBOY (5/2)
2003 – HOLY ORDERS (6/1)


Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle Betting Trends

14/17 – Raced at the Cheltenham Festival earlier that season
13/17 – Placed in the top three last time out
12/17 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
11/17 – Aged 8 or younger
10/17 – Irish trained winners
9/17 – Won last time out
7/17 – Winning favourites
7/17 – Trained by Willie Mullins
7/17 – Ran in the Aintree Hurdle last time out
5/17 – Ran in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle last time out
Only one Stayers’ Hurdle (Cheltenham) winner in the last 20 runnings
14 of the last 17 winners ran at the Cheltenham Festival that season
The market leader has won 9 of the last 19 runnings
11 of the last 18 winners won their previous race
11 of the 23 runnings have been won by a British-trained horse
8 of the last 16 winners ran at Aintree’s Grand National Meeting last time out
11 of the last 17 winners had won a Grade One over 3m+ before

TQ VERDICT: Former Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner – Klassical Dream – would be interesting if make to his best, but he’s clearly had his issues and returns from a 487-day lay-off here. Another coming back to the track from some time off is Ronald Pump – but he was last seen running the classy Honeysuckle to ½ a length at Fairyhouse (Nov) and that form has been given several boosts since He was also runner-up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and is a horse that’s gone well fresh in the past – he’s one for the shortlist. However, it could be this season’s Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham that has the answers here, with the winner – FLOORING PORTER – the obvious call. This fast-improving 6 year-old is the top-rated in the field and heads here having won his last three now – the last two being Grade One wins too! He’s a horse that likes to get on with things from the front but has also proved hard to pass and I think it can be more of the same here. He had Beacon Edge 5 ½ lengths back in fourth that day, while Fury Road was pulled up – both have a bit to do to overturn that form. So, the safer danger can come from the reliable THE STORYTELLER, who was fifth in that Stayers’ Hurdle last time out. He’s a proven course winner here and prior to that last run had strung together many good efforts that saw him finish in the first two seven times. His overall form at the track (fences and hurdles) reads well too 2-3-1-4-3-1.

 

6.35 - Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+) 2m

6 winning favourites in the last 9 runnings
13 of the last 14 winners returned 11/2 or shorter in the betting
11 of the last 14 winners were aged 7 or older (only 5 of the last 23 aged 6 or younger)
9 of the last 14 were aged either 7 or 8 years-old
22 of the last 24 winners returned 6/1 or shorter
8 of the last 14 winners ran in the Arkle Chase (Cheltenham) that same season
UK-based trainers have won 4 of the last 11 times they have had runners
14 of the last 16 winners had run at least 4 times over fences previously
Willie Mullins trained the winner in 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019

TQ VERDICT: The Willie Mullins camp have a fine record in this race and it will be a shock if that isn’t enhanced here with the talented ENERGUMENE. This 7 year-old missed Cheltenham with a slight setback, but is back here as he bids to back it 4-from-4 over fences. He’s already beaten one of his main rivals – Captain Guinness – this season and it should be more of the same here. Those against him might look to this being his first run here at the track, but there is no reason to think it won’t suit this strong-travelling 2m chaser. Embittered is another that will be fighting it out for the places, but Mullins even has some back-up in the form of Janidil, who needs to find a bit on the ratings, but looks an improving chaser too after beating Franco De Port well at Fairyhouse earlier this month – he can follow home the selection and make it a 1-2 for the Mullins camp.

 

DAY FOUR – Friday 30th April 2021

5.30 –PUNCHESTOWN CHAMPION HURDLE (GRADE 1) 2m

8 of the last 15 favourites (2 joint) have won
7 of the last 13 winners won last time out
12 of the last 13 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
13 of the last 15 winners were aged 6 or older
12 of the last 21 winners ran in that season’s Champion Hurdle
The current Champion Hurdler is yet to finish out of the top two when running
12 of the last 15 winners returned 3/1 or shorter in the betting
Willie Mullins trained the winner in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 & 2017
6 of the last 9 winners returned odds-on in the betting
13 of the last 15 winners were Irish-trained

TQ VERDICT: Some big names in attendance here, but the biggest of the lot is the current Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdler – HONEYSUCKLE – who we last saw beating Sharjah by 6 ½ lengths last month. She gets in here with the 7lbs mares allowance again too, but being she’s the top-rated anyway at 165, then with that extra 7lbs in-hand, her chance is there for all to see. This Henry De Bromhead 7 year-olds has now won all 11 of her starts and it will be a shock if it’s not 12. Those against her might cling to the fact this is actually her first run at Punchestown – but there is no reason why the track wouldn’t suit. Of the rest, past Champion Hurdler – Epatante – also gets the mares’ allowance but has 9 ½ lengths to find with the selection on their last run. CD winner Sharjah should go well again, while the Gary Moore yard send over Goshen too. This unpredictable horse can’t be totally rued out, but ran another poor race in the Champion Hurdle last time (beaten 26 lengths). He’s developed into one of those horses that a lot of risks are attached to and is hard to back with any confidence at the moment. Aspire Tower and Jason The Militant are two others from the Henry De Bromhead yard that could go well and the season they stable are having a 1-2-3 in the race wouldn’t surprise. But the danger can come from ABACADABRAS (e/w). He fell in the Champion Hurdle, but bounced back to winning ways at Aintree last time out over 2m4f in the Aintree Hurdle. His form at the track is good (1-2), while his proven stamina will be a plus in the closing stages. He’ll still, most likely, have to settle for minor honours though, with Honeysuckle the clear one to beat.

6.05 – CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLE (GRADE 1) 2m4f

9 of the last 15 favourites have won
9 of the last 15 winners were aged 5 years-old
13 of the last 15 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
Willie Mullins has won 9 of the last 18 runnings
14 of the last 19 winners won last time out
Since 1996 all-bar-two of the winners were aged either 5 or 6 years-old

TQ VERDICT: Another race that has a straight-forward feel to it. Yes, Gaillard Du Mesnil is a useful horse, but he’s 7 ½ lengths to find with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner – BOB OLIGER – and I think this Henry De Bromhead 6 year-old can uphold that form. He’s now won 3 of his last 4 hurdles starts and looked at his best yet last time at Cheltenham. We know he stays further too so the Punchestown track, even though it’s his first run here, should be perfect. Just like at Prestbury Park, Gaillard Du Mesnil can follow him home with Ashdale Bob doing best of the rest.

 

DAY FIVE – Saturday 1st May 2021


4.25 – AES CHAMPION FOUR YEAR-OLD HURDLE (GRADE 1) 2m

6 winning favourites in the last 15 runnings
14 of the last 15 winners returned 15/2 or shorter
Willie Mullins trained the winner in 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
12 of the last 14 winners ran in that season’s Triumph Hurdle (Cheltenham)
6 of the last 12 winners ran in that season’s Spring Juvenile Hurdle
10 of the last 22 runnings went to a British-trained horse
Owner Rich Ricci has won 2 of the last 3 runnings

TQ VERDICT: We've a re-run of the Triumph Hurdle here with the winner - Quilixios - the third Haut En Couleurs and the fourth - Zanahiyr - all locking horns again. It was the last-named of that trio - Zanahiyr - that was sent off the favourite for that Cheltenham race, but race far too free that day and that took it's toll in the closing stages. Th Mullins-trained Haut En Couleurs was the horse to probably take out of the Triumph, but was still just over 3 lengths behind QUILIXIOS and I can't see any massive reason to think those that finished behind this Henry De Bromhead runner can reverse the form. The selection is now 5-from-5 from his races and the way he won last time out suggests there could be even more to come. He's also a proven winner at the track - unlike his two main rivals - and the slight drop back in trip is fine too. Of the rest, Saint Sam and the hat-trick seeking Jeff Kidder can do best of the rest.


 

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