From Bust To Boum For Townend Et Al
The Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday has the makings to be the race of the season so far with Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo, Aintree winner Kemboy, last year’s winner Bellshill and of course the Henry de Bromhead-trained Monalee all locking horns in what could go down as a classic.
From bust to Boum for Townend ete Al
Few will ever forget the incident with Al Boum Photo at Punchestown last year but that is nothing only a distant memory in the mind of Paul Townend now after the pair shared success in the blue riband of jump racing at the Cheltenham Festival.
Al Boum Photo is being challenged by Kemboy in the betting after Kemboy failed to get beyond the first fence in the Gold Cup but bolted up at Aintree last month.
That was almost four weeks ago so Kemboy has had plenty of time to recover from that but Al Boum Photo is preferred to secure his place as Ireland’s highest rated jump horse at the end of this season.
Bellshill is an interesting runner as he is unbeaten at Punchestown and his only real blot in the copybook was in the Gold Cup when he ran too bad to be true.
Monalee returns to three miles and should be in the mix jumping the last fence but Al Boum Photo can grind this out. It should also be remembered that since he was going to win that Grade 1 novice here last year that Al Boum Photo won at Tramore and at Cheltenham, winning both,
so he could still be improving as he’s only seven and this is just his third run in open company.
Harrington to face the Press
One of the better bets on the card could be in the first race of the day at Punchestown. Jessica Harrington’s Press Conference hasn’t raced since winning his maiden at Limerick over Christmas and although he lacks some bit of handicap experience, he looks well handicapped off 123.
Jockey Sean O’Keeffe is not long back from injury and he takes 4lbs off in this type of race and that is a nice bonus to bring Press Conference down to 11st8lbs.
The six-year-old defeated the Willie Mullins-trained Annamix at Limerick and at the time Annamix was a leading fancy for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Annamix has also come out and won since and the bit of rain that was around yesterday wouldn’t do Press Conference any harm at all.
With a field of 25 runners and confined to conditional jockeys, this is obviously ultra competitive but Press Conference could well be a few steps ahead of the handicapper here today and looks a good bet at 6/1.
Press Conference (6/1) 3.40 Punchestown
Al Boum Photo (6/4) – 6.05 Punchestown