punchestown 24th Apr
The Punchestown Festival gets under way on Tuesday with three Grade 1 events kicking off a brilliant week of racing.
The Grade 1 Boylesports.com Champion Chase is the feature race on the card which sees old rivals Sizing Europe and Big Zeb lock horns once again. Henry De Bromhead's 10-year-old comes here having lost out to Finian's Rainbow in a controversial finish of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but he had Big Zeb in arrears that day and he was much too strong for his old foe when the pair met in the Tied Cottage Chase here back in February.
Later on the card, the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase sees the much anticipated return to action of Cheltenham Festival hero Sir Des Champs, who looked a genuine contender for next season's Gold Cup when prodcing a faultless exhibition of steeplechasing to land the Jewson Novices' Chase last month.
He looks to have the world at his feet and should face a straightforward task today.
The Gigginstown Stud look set to enjoy a memorable day and also hold outstanding claims with Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Trifolium lining up in the Grade 1 Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.
He sets the clear standard on that form with each of Willie Mullins' trio having something to prove in opposition and Alderwood facing his stiffest task so far.
Racing begins at 3.40 with the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Steeplechase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup, but this looks one for punters to sit out with similar comments able to be made about a fiercely competitive renewal of the Boylesports.com 'Official Partner Of The Irish Soccer Team' Handicap Hurdle.
In the latter event, Snap Tie is most interesting having been nursed back from 921 days off the track but he is clearly well treated on his old form, which includes being placed in Grade 1 company, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on.
» All news for Tue, 24th Apr, 2012
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