Punchestown Champion Hurdle day

The Champion Hurdle and Champion Novice Hurdle headline the penultimate day of the festival

Patrick Madden Fri, Apr 28
LIVE: Punchestown Champion Hurdle day

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  • 15:16

    Good afternoon!

    Welcome to our coverage of the penultimate day of the Punchestown Festival.

    There's another eight-race card to enjoy today, with the Champion Hurdle - and one unruly grey - likely to draw most of the attention.

    Gordon Elliott's Labaik dug his heels in on Tuesday and refused to race, returning to type after his brilliant Cheltenham win - but he returns for the feature at 5.30.

    Will he stay or will he go? We'll soon find out.

    We've had some thrilling races over the last few days - here's to another cracker today.

    Come on!!!

  • 15:20

    Today's card:

    3.40 KFM Hunters Chase
    4.20 Copiers Novice Handicap Chase
    4.55 Mares Handicap Chase
    5.30 Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
    6.05 Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
    6.40 Champion Hunter Chase
    7.10 Donohue Marquee Novice Hurdle
    7.45 The Bumper

  • 15:21
    The ground at Punchestown is good to yielding once again.
  • 15:25

    You can read Brian O'Connor's preview of today's action - and see who he fancies for the Champion Hurdle - HERE.

    Meanwhile guest tipster Tony Keenan picked out the winner of the stayers hurdle yesterday, Unowhatimeanharry, and you can see his Friday fancies HERE.

  • 15:28
    The latest figures in the battle for the trainers' title - Gordon Elliott leads Willie Mullins by €126,883. Mullins trimmed the gap by more than half yesterday but Elliott remains favourite to stay ahead.
  • 15:31

    The day opens up with the KFM Hunters Chase (2m 4f):

    Enniskillen 9/4
    Shin A Vee 11/4
    Pass The Ball 5/1
    Das Mooser 11/2
    Hasty Times 10/1
    Buzzkillbob 14/1
    Cant Pay Wont Pay 20/1
    Definitely Fureys 20/1
    Oscar Day 33/1
    BAR 40/1

  • 15:37
    No coverage of this opening race unfortunately so it will be result only.
  • 15:42
  • 15:48
    Das Mooser takes the first! Shin A Vee second and Pass the Ball third - full result to follow.
  • 15:52
  • 16:00

    There has been money going in for Labaik today, he's into 5s from around 10/1 this morning. He's clearly very talented, but even if he does make it past the start post today's task is much sterner than the Supreme - the highly versatile Vroum Vroum Mag, who took the race last year, is currently favourite at 3/1.

  • 16:03

    Next up, the Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (2m 5f):

    Woodland Opera 4/1
    Le Prezien 13/2
    Balko Des Flos 13/2
    Diamond King 7/1
    Last Goodbye 8/1
    Arbre De Vie 17/2
    Three Wise Men 12/2
    Mystical knight 14/1
    Dicosimo 16/1
    Champagne Harmony 16/1
    BAR 20/1

  • 16:08
    Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power can do no wrong at the moment and they have the favourite in the next in the form of Woodland Opera. Elliott's Diamond King disappointed at Cheltenham but has every chance here if his jumping holds up. Ruby is on board Arbre De Vie for Willie Mullins.
  • 16:16
    Woodland Opera now as short as 3/1 - Arbre De Vie into second favourite now. Ruby finally got on the scoreboard last night with Asthuria in the Mares Hurdle.
  • 16:20
    The runners are mooching down to the start.
  • 16:22
    And they're off!
  • 16:22
    Over the first and Kilcarry Bridge leads.
  • 16:23
    Dicosimo takes it up under Paul Townend and leads by a good three lengths from Bright Tomorrow.
  • 16:24
    Past the stands and Dicosimo leads from Bright Tomorrow, Abre De Vie is the back marker.
  • 16:24
    Townend letting Dicosimo tank along at a good gallop, Bright Tomorrow is four behind him and he has stretched six or so from the pack.
  • 16:25
    Slightly awkward jump from Dicosimo eight from home but he retains a healthy lead. bright Tomorrow in hot pursuit with Kilcarry Bridge next and Balko Des Flos next. Woodland Opera fifth and with every chance.
  • 16:26
    Towards the third last and it's still Dicosimo from Kilcarry Bridge.
  • 16:27
    Turning for home and Woodland Opera has moved up on the outside of Dicosimo.
  • 16:27
    Woodland Opera leads over the last.
  • 16:27
  • 16:29
  • 16:30


    1 Woodland Opera 11/4F
    2 Abre De Vie 6/1
    3 Balko Des Flos 7/1

  • 16:32
    Another brilliant Robbie Power ride - that's his 13th Festival winner of the year. Ruby nearly produced a miracle getting Arbre De Vie through the field to challenge Woodland Opera down the straight but they couldn't grind him down.
  • 16:42
  • 16:45

    RTE are showing a brilliant video of a 10-year-old Jack Kennedy saddling up for a pony race and talking of his ambition to make it as a professional jockey - eight years later and he's done alright.

    He doesn't take the ride on Labaik today, though, with Davy Russell stepping in to try and coax the refuser into a run.

  • 16:50

    Next up the Glencarraig Lady Mares Handicap Chase (2m 5f):

    Slowmotion 4/1
    Retour En France 5/1
    Definite Ruby 13/2
    Elusive Ivy 7/1
    Girly Girl 9/1
    Rock On The Moor 12/1
    Keppols Queen 12/1
    Cresswell Breeze 12/1
    Emcon 16/1
    Padraig's Joy 16/1
    BAR 20/1


  • 16:50
  • 16:54
    They're down at the start.
  • 16:56
    They're off!
  • 16:57
    Who's That is gone at the first, so too Goulane Davina.
  • 16:58
    Cresswell Breeze leads with Carole Rose disputing.
  • 16:58
    Isabella Liberty another faller.
  • 16:59
    Deown into the back straight and Cresswell Breeze still leads from Carole Rose.
  • 16:59
    Five have pulled away slightly with Retour En France at the head of the chasing pack.
  • 17:00
    The front runners have been reeled in now with seven to go, Cresswell Breeze still leads with The Conker Club now second.
  • 17:00
    The Conker Club moves into the lead with six to go.
  • 17:01
    Ruby having to get busy on Retour En France in midfield.
  • 17:01
    They bypass the fourth last, The Conker Club leads with three to go.
  • 17:02
    Definite Rugby moves up on the outside of the leading pair.
  • 17:02
    Cresswell Breeze badly hindered by a loose horse at the second last.
  • 17:02
    Definite Ruby pings the last.
  • 17:02
  • 17:04
    Huge win for Gordon Elliott. Slowmotion came second and Elusive Ivy stayed on for third.
  • 17:04
  • 17:07


    1 Definite Ruby 7/1
    2 Slowmotion 4/1F
    3 Elusive Ivy 7/1
    4 Retour En France 9/2

  • 17:16
  • 17:20

    Right then, here's the betting for the big one:

    Vroum Vroum Mag 2/1
    Arctic Fire 9/2
    Labaik 6/1
    Brain Power 6/1
    My Tent Or Yours 7/1
    Diakali 9/1
    Wicklow Brave 12/1
    Identity Thief 33/1
    Ivan Grozny 33/1
    Tombstone 33/1
    Rashaan 50/1

  • 17:20
  • 17:24
    Labaik has dominated much of the discussion ahead of this one but he has plenty to do to win even if he does fancy it. Vroum Vroum Mag is exception and has a seven lb Mares allowance, as well as Ruby on board. Willie Mullins has five runners here, including County hurdle hero Arctic Fire, while Nicky Henderson saddles two raiders. Elliott has two runner, with Jack Kennedy on Tombstone.
  • 17:28

    The runners are down at the start.

    Will Labaik start?!

  • 17:31
    Labaik on the rail as they edge towards the start post.
  • 17:32
    They're in a perfect line and Labaik looks ready to go but then Willie Mullins starts acting up.
  • 17:32
  • 17:33
    Identity Thief and Bryan Cooper lead with Tombstone second in the Gigginstown colours.
  • 17:33
    Identity Thief leads with VVM into second, Wicklow Brave out wide. Labaik at the back of the pack on the rail.
  • 17:34
    Identity Thief is joined by Wicklow Brave five out.
  • 17:34
    Plenty with chances four out, Wicklow Brave has moved into a helathy lead.
  • 17:34
    Wicklow Brave has a 10-length lead with VVM leading the chasing pack.
  • 17:35
    Two out, Wicklow Brave has a commanding lead over My Tent Or Yours and VVM.
  • 17:35
    VVM is beaten, Wicklow Brave leads over the last.
  • 17:35
  • 17:37
    My Tent Or Yours is second once again, Arctic Fire third. Labaik stayed on for third followed by Brain Power.
  • 17:38


    1 Wicklow Brave 12/1
    2 My Tent Or Yours 8/1
    3 Arctic Fire 9/2

  • 17:39
    A brilliant ride and performance there, Wicklow Brave took it up and Patrick Mullins let him go and he had enough to stay on. My Tent Or Yours finishes second for the billionth time.
  • 17:46
  • 17:50
  • 17:55
    Willie Mullins now leads Gordon Elliott in the race for the trainers' title by €19,420 - some swing.
  • 17:57

    Next up - the Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1):

    Finian's Oscar 6/4
    Let's Dance 7/2
    Death Duty 5/1
    Bleu Berry 8/1
    Bacardys 10/1
    Kemboy 14/1
    Outspoken 14/1
    The Nipper 25/1
    Runfordave 33/1

  • 18:02
    Finian's Oscar is the one to beat here and should give Robbie Power another win for Colin Tizzard - he is unbeaten in five including two grade one wins, which have come in very impressive fashion. Death Duty is the apple of Elliott's eye but was highly disappointing at Cheltenham.
  • 18:04
    The runners are down at the start.
  • 18:05
    They're off!
  • 18:05
    Let's Dance and Ruby taking an early lead, followed by Death Duty and Kemboy.
  • 18:06
    Let's Dance travelling smoothly in front with Kemboy keen in second. The Nipper in third with Death Duty on the outside.
  • 18:07
    Bleu Berry the back marker with Finian's Oscar ahead of him.
  • 18:08
    Let's Dance leads into the back on the inside with Kemboy alongside. Outspoken third on the rail with The Nipper midfield and Death Duty outside.
  • 18:08
    Finian's Oscar moving ominously through the field on the outside.
  • 18:09
    Let's Dance still leads with three to go, Kemboy on the outside.
  • 18:09
    Runfordave is gone.
  • 18:09
    This is going some finish, Finian's Oscar cruising up on the outside of Let's Dance.
  • 18:09
    Finian's Oscar moves five clear.
  • 18:10
    Finian's Oscar idling!!!!
  • 18:10
  • 18:11
    Finian's Oscar is beaten by a neck! What a finish. That's another win for Willie Mullins.
  • 18:11
  • 18:12


    1 Bacardys 10/1
    2 Finian's Oscar 13/8F
    3 Death Duty 9/2

  • 18:26
    Sad news, Runfordave was terminally injured in that fall.
  • 18:29
  • 18:32

    Next up, the Champion Hunters Chase (3m):

    On The Fringe 7/4
    Balnaslow 9/2
    Monsieur Gibraltar 11/2
    Minella for Value 7/1
    Mendip Express 9/1
    Maple Mons 9/1
    Sir Des Champs 12/1
    Home Farm 16/1
    Dimple 25/1
    Dantes King 66/1

  • 18:33
  • 18:39
    The runners are having a nose at the start.
  • 18:40
    They're off in the hunter chase!
  • 18:40
    All safely over the first.
  • 18:41
    Minella for Value takes them along.
  • 18:41
    Mendip Express takes it up, On The Fringe sitting in midfield on the inside.
  • 18:42
    Four Length lead for Mendip Express from Dimple.
  • 18:43
    Dimple and Mendip Express disputing, On The Fringe third.
  • 18:43
    Dimple goes wide but now has a five length lead form Mendip Express.
  • 18:43
    Sir Des Champs getting reminders at the back of the field.
  • 18:45
    Dimple still leads - Sir Des Champs is gone.
  • 18:45
    Mendip Express takes it back up on the outside of Dimple.
  • 18:46
    Four out and plenty have chances.
  • 18:46
    Balnaslow jumps into the lead with three to go.
  • 18:46
    On The Fringe looks out of it. Balnaslow leads them round the turn.
  • 18:46
    Balnaslow and Mendip Express head to head with one to go.
  • 18:46
    Balnaslow just in fornt over the last.
  • 18:47
    Balnaslow asserting, Mendip Express rallying.
  • 18:47
  • 18:50
    Another stunning finish there - gutsy as you like from Balnaslow.
  • 18:51
  • 19:04

    Next on the card, the Donohue Marquees Novice Hurdle:

    Riven Light 5/2
    Montalbano 3/1
    Castlegrace Paddy 10/3
    Morgan 8/1
    Avenir D'Une Vie 10/1
    Chateau Conti 12/1
    Chirico Vallis 14/1
    Bravissimo 20/1
    Rosskerrig 125/1

  • 19:09
    Result only here.
  • 19:12
  • 19:14
    They're off and running!
  • 19:19
  • 19:20
    Ruby had got Riven Light ahead over the last but he did little up front and Montalbano battled back to take it!
  • 19:23
  • 19:24
    536/1 that treble for Patrick Mullins. Anybody have it?!
  • 19:31

    Right, one last spin tonight - the poetically named GVA Donal O'Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race:

    Warthog 5/2
    Beyond The Law 11/2
    Moyross 6/1
    Its All Guesswork 13/2
    Stowaway Forever 15/2
    Flemenskill 8/1
    Greco Romain 10/1
    Canardier 12/1
    Isodon 14/1
    Ballyhome 28/1
    Mistercobar 33/1
    Settimo Milanese 33/1
    BAR 40/1

  • 19:32
    The 7.45 will be result only again.
  • 19:55
  • 20:01
    So that's it from me for today, thanks for reading along. Brian O'Connor's report from Cheltenham will be online soon so stay tuned, bye!