Noel Fehily looks ahead to the 2019 Punchestown Festival
Our racing ambassador Noel Fehily talks about his fancies at this year’s Punchestown Festival in his latest blog.
I have always loved the Punchestown Festival as it was a fairly relaxed meeting for me. I’d only have a handful of rides going over and I’d normally have an English raider with a bit of a chance.
I had a nice winner a couple of years ago with Unowhatimeanharry and it’s a great to have a winner there. I will miss not being a part of it this year but I am still going and will just enjoy being there.
Klassical Dream was very impressive at Cheltenham and I think it will be very hard to beat him in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.
In the Champion Chase, I thought Min again looked so impressive at Aintree and on that form he looks hard to beat. His run at Cheltenham was probably disappointing but his run before that at Leopardstown was very good so I am drawing a line through Cheltenham.
The Dooleys Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase looks a very good race. Sometimes this race isn’t the best of them but this year’s renewal looks excellent.
I thought A Plus Tard had a very good Cheltenham. I know it was a handicap but to win it by 16 lengths was very impressive. I am really looking forward to seeing him against the novices. I think Getabird’s jumping needs to improve. A Plus Tard is the one for me here.
The Coral Punchestown Gold Cup is a match between Kemboy and Al Boum Photo. Kemboy looked so good at Aintree. I wasn’t a big fan of his before that as I didn’t think his jumping was quite good enough but he won me over at Aintree.
For that reason, I would pick him over Al Boum Photo. It’ll be a good race between the pair. Yes Al Boum Photo is a Gold Cup winner but Kemboy really impressed at Aintree.
The Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle is an open race. It will be interesting to see what Willie Mullin’s actually runs in the race.
I was disappointed with Apple’s Jade at Aintree; I thought she looked a bit flat. For that reason, I would find it hard to fancy her. If she ran, I would fancy Laurina.
She looked outpaced in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. She went flat out all the way and I think she is crying out for this trip. She will be my pick here if she runs.
In the Ryanair Novice Chase, Duc Des Genievres was very impressive in the Arkle. He looked a winner before they reached the top of the hill.
He won by 13 lengths which you don’t see very often in that race. Defi Du Seuil is coming back in trip and he’s had a great season. Again it’s a hell of a good race.
Willie Mullins’ other horse Chacun Pour Soi, bolted up last time, although I’m not sure how good a race that was. Ornua was also very eye-catching at Aintree so it is competitive.
If I had to pick though, I think Duc Des Genievre’s Arkle performance gives him the edge. He has had plenty of time to freshen up.
The Punchestown Champion Hurdle looks a very good race too. I think Buveur D’Air was disappointing at Aintree, it was a below par performance. Melon I suppose was going well when he fell at Aintree. I would have him on my short list.