Coral Punchestown Gold Cup Betting Tips & Predictions – Wednesday 1st May 2019

The day two highlight at the Punchestown Festival is for many the standout contest of the entire meeting. Regularly featuring runners to have taken part in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as well as the English and Irish Grand Nationals, the Punchestown Gold Cup is always a race to savour.

The market would suggest that this may well be the Willie Mullins show and we would agree with that assessment. It is a runner from the Mullins yard, who blew us away with his performance at Aintree last time out, who we will be backing to claim gold this year.

Top Tips

Kemboy to win @ 5/4

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

3m½f is the trip for this Grade 1 Chase contest. Offering a total of €300,000 in total prize money, the going at the track is currently yielding.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Yielding 3m½f Grade 1 €300,000 11 Runners 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

The younger runners have held sway in this race of late, with seven of the past 10 winners being either seven or eight years of age.

With three wins in the past six editions, Willie Mullins is the most successful of the trainers on show this year. The County Carlow handler has Al Boum Photo, Bellshill, Kemboy, Pairofbrowneyes and Yorkhill amongst the current entries.

2018 Bellshill 4/1 Willie Mullins David Mullins
2017 Sizing John 9/10 Jessica Harrington Robbie Power
2016 Carlingford Lough 12/1 John Kiely Barry Geraghty
2015 Don Cossack 5/2 Gordon Elliott Paul Carberry
2014 Boston Bob 5/2 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh

Analysis: Kem A Gem Of A Bet

We look to have a top-notch renewal in store in 2019, with the winners of the Irish and English Gold Cups, and the 2018 winner of this race all set to go to post.

The English challenge – as is often the case – looks to be pretty thin on the ground. Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red is the only potential raider at this stage, and whilst he is amongst the outsiders, he does have pieces of form which would give him an each way squeak. We will be focussing on the home team for our bet though.

Photo In The Frame?

When it comes to top tier staying chases, they don’t come any better than the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is therefore no surprise to see this year’s winner of the Prestbury Park showpiece towards the head of the betting here. Al Boum Photo finally broke Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham Gold Cup duck when staying on determinedly to score by two and half lengths from Anibale Fly in the Cheltenham Festival showpiece, and bids to follow up and claim another golden pot here.

It would be fair to say that the horse’s experiences of this track haven’t been great to date though. Only fifth in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle in 2017, he was then victim of a moment of madness from jockey Paul Townend when veered off the track to unnecessarily avoid jumping the last in the Champion Novice Chase at the meeting last year. He did look to have the race at his mercy that day though, and on that Cheltenham form he must have every chance on what will be just his third start of the season.

Boy The One To Back?

Al Boum Photo may ultimately have landed the big prize at Cheltenham, but the shortest price of the Willie Mullins runners going into the race was the seven year old, Kemboy. Always looking to be a horse of significant ability, he has taken huge strides forward this season, really making everyone sit up and take notice when storming home by seven and half lengths in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December. His Cheltenham Gold Cup adventure however didn’t quite go to plan - making it no further than the first fence when a little unlucky to unseat his rider.

The son of Voix Du Nord certainly showed no ill-effects from that race when turning the Betway Bowl at Aintree into a procession – dispatching the talented King George winner, Clan Des Obeaux, by nine lengths. Winner of a novice handicap at this meeting last year, he has strong claims of following up in this top level event.

Back To Back For Bells?

Willie Mullins looks to hold a vice-like grip on a few of the big ones at this year’s festival, and this race certainly falls into that category. It may be Al Boum Photo and Kemboy who are vying for favouritism, but Mullins has a pretty strong third string in the shape of last year’s winner of this race, Bellshill. Boasting overall form figures of 111 at this track, it’s pretty difficult to pick holes in the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned nine year old.

This horse already has one Gold Cup in the bag this season having seen off Road To Respect in determined fashion to land the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February. Consistent jumping errors put paid to his chances in the showpiece at Cheltenham, but it’s not hard to forgive him that, now returning to a track that suits him well.

Final Verdict: Kemboy to win

This looks something of a coin toss between Al Boum Photo and Kemboy to us. Al Boum Photo was impressive at Cheltenham, but we narrowly prefer the claims of Kemboy. Whether or not the Gold Cup had left a mark on some of his rivals last time out at Aintree, it was still some effort to dispatch the field in the manner he did. We fancy he has the most gears of these and will be backing him to use that speed to good effect on the run to the line.

About the Punchestown Gold Cup: A Star-Studded Chase

Gold Bars on a Map of Ireland

In horse racing, springtime is associated with the start of the new flat season. The National Hunt season never goes out with a whimper though. It’s brought to a close with the biggest Irish meeting of the year, the Punchestown Festival, a great five days that can rival Cheltenham for equine class, betting options and Guinness downed.

The biggest yards from Ireland and Britain are all represented at this five day extravaganza of racing which includes a host of Grade 1 contests. The Punchestown Gold Cup is among the very best and most valuable races of the lot.

Cheltenham Runners Go for Gold Once More

The Punchestown Gold Cup as we currently know it was only introduced around the turn of the century. Technically, the Grade 1, 3m½f race was brand new in 1999 but it actually replaced a previous version which was open only to novice chasers.

Opening up the Punchestown Gold Cup to all chasers aged five and older has seen it steadily increase in importance. That much is clear by the number of competitors from the Gold Cup at Cheltenham who are sent on to compete in County Kildare.

It took six renewals before Kicking King became the first horse to win both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups in the same season. There was no wait for the next horse to complete the double though as War Of Attrition managed to take both prizes in 2006. There was an even bigger break before Sizing John’s double in 2017 but Don Cossack did win at Punchestown in 2015 and then at Cheltenham in 2016.

Same Season Dual Gold Cup Winners

2017 Sizing John Jessica Harrington
2006 War Of Attrition Mouse Morris
2005 Kicking King Tom Taaffe

In the years before 1999 the Punchestown Gold Cup had a reputation for producing top class chasers. The horse who many believe to be the best chaser of all time, Arkle, won the race whilst still a novice. He would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in each of the three years that followed.

A Great Test of the Best Stayers

The class of those repeat winners prove that this is a race that really sets the best staying chasers apart. Moreover, the conditions tend to be somewhere around good to soft. That demands both stamina and pace. Horses must be able to remain in contention whilst keeping something in reserve for the kick for home as it’s unusual for the Punchestown Gold Cup to be an out and out slog.

Chart Showing the Going for the Punchestown Gold Cup Over the Last 20 Years

Jumping is the other vital attribute. In total there are 17 fences to be navigated, each of which poses a real threat. Several horses have fallen when in a strong position and others have seen their chances end when making mistakes as the pressure is really turned on in the latter stages. That’s especially true when the ground is on the firmer side of yielding and the pace is turned up.

Class Applies to Jockeys and Trainers

The standard of performance required to win this race means that getting a confident ride from an experienced jockey can make the difference. Both Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh have won the new look race five times. Sometimes their role was to guide some of the very best chasers of their peers safely through the race and keep mistakes at bay but at other times those two had to give their partners world class rides.

Punchestown Gold Cup Winning Jockeys

5 Barry Geraghty Ruby Walsh
1 David Mullins Robbie Power
Paul Carberry Davy Russell
Tom Doyle Richard Johnson
Andrew Lynch Conor O'Dwyer
Timmy Murphy Thierry Doumen

Like many of the races at the Punchestown Festival, unsurprisingly the Gold Cup has been a happy hunting ground for Irish horses and trainers. Big name trainers from the Emerald Isle including Willie Mullins, Jessica Harrington and Gordon Elliott have all saddled the winner but so have British trainers such as Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs and the French trainer, François Doumen.

Punchestown Gold Cup Winning Trainers

4 Willie Mullins  
2 Mouse Morris Paul Nicholls
1 Jessica Harrington John Kiely
Gordon Elliot Oliver McKiernan
Philip Hobbs Jim Dreaper
Tom Taaffe Michael Hourigan
Francois Doumen Frances Crowley
Ted Walsh Raymond Hurley

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