Punchestown Gold Cup Day

Can Sizing John make it a Gold Cup triple crown for Jessica Harrington?

Patrick Madden Wed, Apr 26
 
LIVE: Punchestown Gold Cup Day

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  • 15:09

    Good afternoon!


    Welcome to our coverage of the second day of the 2017 Punchestown Festival.


    Unlike Labaik we made it past the start post yesterday, however we soon pulled up lame due to some technical issue with the blog.


    However our technicians have performed a Nicky Henderson-esque training performance overnight and things should be running Sprinter Sacre-smooth today.


    There are three grade ones on Wednesday's card - with the highlight seeing Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John bidding to take the Punchestown equivalent at 5.30.


    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout the afternoon and into the evening, so whether you're in the office, on the track or in the pub - enjoy.


    Come on!!!!

  • 15:20

    TODAY'S CARD:

    3.40 Martinstown Series Handicap Hurdle
    4.20 Louis Fitzgerald Hurdle
    4.55 Irish Daily Mirror Hurdle (Grade One)
    5.30 Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade One)
    6.05 Champion I.N.H Flat Race (Grade One)
    6.40 Guinness Handicap Chase
    7.15 Mares Flat Race

  • 15:21
    The going at Punchestown today is good to yielding.
  • 15:25
    It was a good start to the week for Willie Mullins yesterday as he clawed back a decent chunk of his deficit to Gordon Elliott as the battle for champion trainer reaches its crescendo. Mullins' big win of the day came from an unlikely source as Cilaos Emery held off Melon to take the Champion Novice Hurdle, with Cheltenham hero Labaik refusing at the start. You can read Brian O'Connor's report of the day HERE.
  • 15:26
    And both Brian O'Connor and guest tipster Tony Keenan have made their selections and previewed today's races - you can see them HERE.
  • 15:28
    Mullins is now just under €260,000 behind Elliott - you can back him at 5/2 for the trainer's title, with Elliott out slightly to 2/7.
  • 15:31

    10 minutes until the day's opening race, here's the betting:

    Blast of Koeman 11/2
    Fridaynightlights 7/1
    Drumcliff 8/1
    Tellthemnuttin 9/1
    Close Shave 10/1
    Crossed My Mind 11/1
    Ben Dundee 20/1
    Wood Breizh 20/1
    A Rated 20/1
    La Bella Vida 20/1
    Magic Of Light 20/1
    BAR 22/1

  • 15:34
    Best of luck picking something out of this handicap. Second favourite Fridaynightlights was a reserve for the race but gets a run and is currently unbeaten in two since joining Gordon Elliott, and could get the Meath trainer off to a strong start.
  • 15:38
    With no coverage from Punchestown this race will be result only.
  • 15:44
    False start...
  • 15:45
    THEY'RE OFF AT PUNCHESTOWN!
  • 15:51
    Blast of Koeman and Magic of Light pass together in the opener with A Rated third - full result as soon as it's confirmed.
  • 15:53

    RESULT:

    1 MAGIC OF LIGHT 11/1
    2 BLAST OF KOEMAN 13/2
    3 A RATED 16/1
    4 FRIDAYNIGHTLIGHTS 5/1F

  • 15:55
    Magic of Light and Ryan Treacy just chinning Blast of Koeman on the line to score for Jessica Harrington.
  • 15:56
  • 16:09

    The first is a good omen for Jessica Harrington ahead of Sizing John's attempt to seal a historic Gold Cup hat-trick, following his impressive wins at Leopardstown and Cheltenham.

    Sizing John has been a revelation since being upped in trip and his current price of 10/11 for today's feature is justified. Willie Mullins' perennial bridesmaid Djakadam is second favourite at 3/1, while 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree can't be discounted despite having just two runs since that win as a novice.

    You can see who Brian O'Connor fancies for the big one HERE.

  • 16:12

    Next up, the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle (rolls off the tongue) 2m 4f:

    BATTLEFORD 2/1
    MINELLA TILL DAWN 5/2
    C'EST JERSEY 7/1
    DRUMCONNOR LAD 9/1
    BADEN 10/1
    BURGAS 11/1
    MILSEAN 14/1
    THEOPHILUS 50/1
    BEYOND THE OBVIOUS 66/1
    HIGHWAY ROYAL 66/1

     

  • 16:14
    Mullins has the favourite in Battleford here, with Ruby on board. Nico De Boinville warms up for his ride on Coneygree on Nickey Henderson's raider Baden.
  • 16:19
    They've made their way down to the start for the 4.20.
  • 16:20
    AND THEY'RE OFF!
  • 16:21
    Beyond the Obvious leads over the first, Battleford tucked in on the inside.
  • 16:22
    Beyond the Obvious leads by a length with C'est Jersey second and Milsean third. Baden on the rail, Battleford midfield.
  • 16:23
    C'est Jersey and Paul Townend now taking it up into the back, the front three have stretched things out a bit here.
  • 16:23
    Not the most fluent round of jumping from Battleford so far but he's in the mix in midfield.
  • 16:23
    Five to go and C'est Jersey leads by two lengths to Milsean, about five lengths to the pack.
  • 16:24
    C'est Jersey leads by three of four now, with Milsean second and Battleford moving up into third.
  • 16:24
    Two out - C'est Jersey leads, Battledford hard ridden.
  • 16:25
    C'est Jersey tanking along ahead of Milsean in second - Burgas making headway.
  • 16:25
    C'est Jersey staying on well over the last, Battleford making headway.
  • 16:26
    C'EST JERSEY TAKES THE 4.20!
  • 16:26
    Battleford second, that's a Willie Mullins one-two.
  • 16:28

    4.20 RESULT:

    1 C'EST JERSEY 7/1
    2 BATTLEFORD 6/4F
    3 BURGAS 10/1

  • 16:30
    Paul Townend gave C'est Jersy a great ride there, first time blinkers on. Mullins afterwards says Battleford is a chaser in the making.
  • 16:37
  • 16:39

    Now it's time for three back-to-back grade ones - starting with the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle.

    The betting:

    PENHILL 9/4
    MONALEE 11/4
    PRESENTING PERCY 10/3
    AL BOUM PHOTO 7/1
    TIN SOLDIER 14/1
    CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC 16/1
    BON PAPA 20/1
    MOULIN A VENT 25/1

  • 16:43

    Three Cheltenham winners - Penhill, Presenting Percy and Champagne Classic - going head to head here, while Monalee ran a good race to finish second behind Penhill in the Albert Bartlett.

    Presenting Percy won the Pertemps last month but in fine style, suggesting he can make the step up to grade one - but Penhill was just as impressive under Paul Townend. Ruby takes the ride today.



  • 16:44
  • 16:53
    They're down to the start for the 4.55.
  • 16:55

    THEY'RE OFF!



  • 16:56
    Early lead for Monalee with Tin Soldier second on the outside.
  • 16:57
    Three length lead for Monalee who is jumping smoothly up front.
  • 16:58
    Towards the fifth and Monalee's lead has been trimmed slightly with the rest well grouped, Penhill tucked in on the rail just ahead of back marker Bon Papa.
  • 16:58
    Monalee leads past the stands.
  • 16:59

    Monalee and Tin Soldier now disputing after halfway, Al Boum Photo third.

  • 17:00
    Five out and Monalee leads from Tin Soldier, Al Boum Photo follows and then Champagne Classic.
  • 17:00
    Monalee leads four from home, Presenting Percy in midfield with Penhill the back marker.
  • 17:01
    Tin Soldier now leads on the outside from Monalee, both pushed along.
  • 17:01
    Monalee leads now into the straight, Penhill making headway.
  • 17:01
    Champagne Classic takes it up over the last.
  • 17:02
    Champagne Classic staying on, Penhill making headway.
  • 17:02
    CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC TAKES IT!
  • 17:02
    That's one on the board for Gordon Elliott, good ride from Bryan Cooper.
  • 17:04

    RESULT:

    1 CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC 14/1
    2 PENHILL 2/1F
    3 TIN SOLDIER 8/1

  • 17:08
    After winning the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham Michael O'Leary described Champagne Classic as: "Without doubt the worse horse I own." Clearly not such a dud after all.
  • 17:13
    Next up, it's the big one.
  • 17:17

    5.30 PUNCHESTOWN GOLD CUP:

    SIZING JOHN EVS
    DJAKADAM 5/2
    CONEYGREE 13/2
    OUTLANDER 8/1
    CHAMPAGNE WEST 16/1
    FLEMENSTAR 100/1

  • 17:24
  • 17:26

    Coneygree was so impressive when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a novice, it's been a real shame injury has limited him to two outings since. A good showing here, whether he wins or not, would be a good omen for next season.  


    Djakadam made a big error with two to go at Cheltenham which definitely hindered his chances - but it's doubtful he would have beaten Sizing John rehardless.

  • 17:29
    The six runners are down having a nose at the front.
  • 17:30
    THEY'RE OFF IN THE GOLD CUP!
  • 17:31
    As expected Coneygree and Champagne West press on in the early stages.
  • 17:32
    Coneygree tanking along up front as is his usual style, he has a four length lead ahead of Champagne West with further daylight to Djakadam who leads the pack.
  • 17:33
    Getting well strung out now, with Outlander getting reminders from Bryan Cooper at the rear.
  • 17:33
    Coneygree retains a four length lead to Chempagne West with another three to Djakadam, who is trailed by Sizing John.  
  • 17:34
    Outlander getting stranded at the back now and will surely be pulled up.
  • 17:35
    Down the back straight and Coneygree still leads, jumping well. Outlander pulled up.
  • 17:35
    Five from home and Coneygree still leads from Champagne West, getting a gentle reminder.
  • 17:36
    Coneygree leads over the fourth last but is getting shaken up, Sizing John and Djakadam making good headway.
  • 17:36
    Coneygree still leads but he's being stalked by Djakadam and Sizing John.
  • 17:36
    Coneygree pecks badly with two to go.
  • 17:36
    Djakadam leads over the last.
  • 17:37
    SIZING JOHN GETS UP TO WIN THE GOLD CUP!!!!!
  • 17:38
    Robbie Power's dream year continues as he just gets Sizing John up to pip Djakadam! Stunning finish.
  • 17:39
    Coneygree was a length back in third - first poor jump with two to go cost him, but what a return.
  • 17:40

    RESULT:

    1 SIZING JOHN 9/10F
    2 DJAKADAM 5/2
    3 CONEYGREE 6/1

  • 17:42
  • 17:45
    Winning jockey Robbie Power: "All credit goes to the horse today - he was never happy at any stage of the race...he has the heart the size of a lion."
  • 17:56
    Jessica Harrington says "pure guts" got Sizing John home there. She's had quite a season herself.
  • 17:58

    Right then, onto the day's final grade one, the champion flat race.

    The betting:

    FAYONAGH 6/4
    POLI ROLI 7/2
    SOMEDAY 7/2
    CARTER MCKAY 15/2
    PALOMA BLUE 14/1
    GO ANOTHER ONE 16/1
    DELL ORO 25/1

  • 18:00
    Elliott's Fayonagh came from a mile back to win the bumper at Cheltenham and heads the market here - with Jessica Harrington bidding for a Wednesday hat-trick with second favourite Someday. Carter McKay was a disappointing favourite last month and the betting here reflects that.
  • 18:06
    THEY'RE OFF IN THE BUMPER!
  • 18:06
    Fayonagh taking an early lead here looking to dictate - small field this so the same heroics won't be required form Jamie Codd.
  • 18:07
    Fayonagh with a length over Paloma Blue, Someday and Poli Roli in behind them.
  • 18:08
    Fayonagh looking good up front as they turn towards home, no change in the order.
  • 18:08
    They all have chances with half a mile to go.
  • 18:09
    Fayonagh leads round the turn, Paloma Blue blue hard ridden on the outside.
  • 18:09
    Fayonagh pulling away with ease.
  • 18:09
    FAYONAGH WINS THE BUMPER!!!
  • 18:10
    Fayonagh led from the front this time and turned it into an absolute procession - Paloma Blue and Poli Roli take second and third. The rest never had a sniff.
  • 18:11
  • 18:12
    That's two grade ones for Elliott today.
  • 18:26
  • 18:26

    Next up, a complex looking Guinness handicap Chase (2m4f):

    POLIDAM 11/4
    ROGHTDOWNTHEMIDDLE 13/2
    IRISH CAVALIER 7/1
    JETSTREAM JACK 9/1
    MR DIABLO 9/1
    SIZING GRANITE 12/1
    VINTAGE VINNIE 12/1
    PEOPLES PARK 12/1
    VENT DE LA COTE 14/1
    WINTER MAGIC 20/1
    BAR 25/1

  • 18:28
    Mullins and Ruby have the favourite here in French recruit Polidam, while Elliott saddles the next in the betting in Rightdownthemiddle, with Jack Kennedy on board.
  • 18:28
  • 18:35
    Big money going in for Polidam who is now 7/4 in places and a clear favourite under Ruby.
  • 18:35
  • 18:39
    The runners are at the post for the day's penultimate race.
  • 18:40
    19,366 the attendance today - up 1,100 on last year.
  • 18:40

    THEY'RE OFF!



  • 18:41
    Mr Diablo leads the way, disputing with Devils Bride.
  • 18:41
    Hot favourite Polidam is midfield on the rail, Devils Bride has a lead of a length or so.
  • 18:42
    Righdownthemiddle has fallen!
  • 18:43
    A decent lead for Gigginstown's Devils Bride now, back in midfield Polidam has nailed the fence but Ruby sits well.
  • 18:43
    Robbie Power and Sizing Granite have move up to contest on the outside.
  • 18:44
    Down the back and Devils Bride leads from Sizing Granite.
  • 18:44
    Same two lead, Mr Diablo third from Winter Magic.
  • 18:45
    Sizing Granite jumps into the lead heading into the straight - Devils Bride has gone! So too Jetstream Jack.
  • 18:45
    Two to go and Sizing Granite leads but plenty have chances.
  • 18:46
    Sizing Granite staying on well over the last.
  • 18:46
    Sizing Granite pulling away!
  • 18:46
    SIZING GRANITE AND ROBBIE POWER TAKE THE GUINNESS HANDICAP CHASE!
  • 18:47
    Robbie Power is having the time of his life, Sizing Granite was an impressive and very comfortable winner.
  • 18:48

    RESULTS:

    1 SIZING GRANITE 14/1
    2 VICONTE DU NOYER 25
    3 IRISH CAVALIER 12/1

  • 18:49
    A one-two for Colin Tizzard and Ann and Alan Potts.
  • 18:50

    Colin Tizzard: "Whatever we had done in the run up to Cheltenham we couldn't win a race, but now..."


    That's his second win of the festival.

  • 19:03

    One final offering today, the mares bumper:

    MINUTESTOMIDNIGHT 9/4
    MYSTIC THEATRE 4/1
    BLUEGRASS PRINCESS 5/1
    THE PRINCETONIAN 8/1
    HALF THE ODDS 10/1
    JELAN 12/1
    FRAZEL EXPRESS 16/1
    SHIMMER'S ROCK 16/1
    DAWN SHADOW 20/1
    BAR 33/1

  • 19:05
    After that last handicap Elliott still leads Mullins by €286,760. Mullins can close the gap slightly in the final race, with Mystic Theatre second favourite. No runners for Elliott which is a collector's item.
  • 19:12
    Favourite Minutestomidnight now out to 3/1 with Mystic Theatre in to 7/2.
  • 19:14
    Unfortunately we have no visual access to this concluding race so it will be result only.
  • 19:16
    THEY'RE OFF!
  • 19:16
  • 19:19
    MINUTESTOMIDNIGHT WINDS THE MARES BUMPER
  • 19:20
    Mullins' Mystic Theatre was just edged out in second there, Bluegrass Princess third.
  • 19:27
  • 19:28

    Right, thanks for joining today. We'll be back tomorrow to bring you all the third day action.

    A brilliant day today - and it was all about one champ...

  • 19:28