The Favorites for the Punchestown Champion Chase

Punchestown Champion Chase

The days of the 2021-22 jump racing season are running thin. In fact, there are only two big meetings left in the United Kingdom and Ireland. With the Jump Finale at Sandown on April 23rd drawing the curtain on Britain’s campaign. While the Punchestown Festival brings the National Hunt season to a close on the other side of the Irish Sea.  

The highlight of Irish jump racing’s meetings, the six-day Punchestown Festival often dubbed Ireland’s very own version of the Cheltenham Festival. And there plenty to look forward to over the course of the week with 40 races and 12 Grade 1s. 

The Champion Chase, the feature race on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival. It is also one of the highlights of the week. So, with the entries now out for the two-mile, Grade 1 contest — worth a huge €275,000. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites in the ante-post market.  

Energumene

Those looking for a bet on horse racing will not surprised to see Queen Mother Champion Chase victor at the front of the ante-post market for this race. After losing his unbeaten streak over fences. When he was beaten in a thrilling Clarence House Chase contest by Shishkin in January. It much was made of the Willie Mullins-trained horse’s reigniting his battle with Nicky Henderson’s star in the Queen Mother. 

However, Cheltenham’s day two feature failed to live up to expectations. As Shishkin shockingly pulled up by Nico de Boinville in the wretched conditions. Allowing Energumene to breeze his way around Prestbury Park to an emphatic eight-and-a-half length victory. Ending Mullins’ lengthy duck in the Queen Mother. The 8/13 favourite, the eight-year-old will take all the beating at Punchestown.

Chacun Pour Soi

While Energumene will not have Shishkin to worry about in Ireland. He will have his own stablemate Chacun Pour Soi hot on his heels. Aside from a victory in the Grade 1 Dublin Chase at Leopardstown in February. It has been a rather disappointing season from the Rich Ricci-owned horse. Who was last of five on his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Tingle Creek before unseating his rider Patrick Mullins when one length ahead five out at Cheltenham.

In what should be better conditions at Punchestown than that rain-soaked second day at Prestbury Park. We will hopefully get to see the real Chacun Pour Soi. The one who beat stablemate Allaho by over five lengths in this race last year in what was his fourth victory in five races for the season.

It may not have the same appeal as Energumene vs Shishkin, both in the prime of their careers. But Chacun Pour Soi should give his stablemate a good race. 

Allaho

The third favourite for the Champion Chase at 4/1 in the race’s ante-post market. It seems increasingly likely that Mullins will opt to run Allaho in the Punchestown Gold Cup on the second day of the festival as opposed to taking on his stablemates in this race — especially after losing comfortably to Chacun Pour Soi in last year’s Champion Chase

With no A Plus Tard, the esteemed Cheveley Park Stud’s Allaho will likely to step up in trip to the three-mile and 120-yard Punchestown Gold Cup. Which will be a big ask for the dual Ryanair Chase champion. Who has only won one in five outings for three miles.  

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