Punchestown racecourse today (22nd April 2014) released entries with weights for the three major handicaps at next week’s festival.
The Philip Hobbs trained Menorah carries top weight of 11st 10lbs in the €100,000 Guinness Handicap Chase on Wednesday 30th April. It could be a case of third time lucky for the Mrs. Diana Whateley owned gelding who has two Punchestown festival runs under his belt. Recent Fairyhouse winner Road to Riches managed to avoid a penalty and will carry 10 stone 9 pounds for trainer Noel Meade. The Gigginstown House Stud owned Toner D’oudairies is in at 11 stone 2 pounds following his Cork Easter festival win for Gordon Elliott. The Guinness Handicap Chase has attracted a total of 38 entries.
The J.P. McManus owned Irish National winner Shutthefrontdoor has received an eight pound increase for his efforts and will carry 11 stone 7 pounds should connections take their chances in the Aon Novice Handicap Chase on Friday 2nd May. Just one pound inferior is Jim Culloty’s Cheltenham winner Spring Heeled while Don Cossack trained by Gordon Elliott carries top weight. Entries total 46.
The largest field of the meeting so far with 83 entries is Saturday’s €100,000 Setanta Sports Hurdle over two miles five furlongs. A rating of 152 means that Jonjo O’Neill’s Get Me Out Of Here will carry top weight with David Pipes Un Temps Pour Tout just two pounds better off at 11 stone 10 pounds. One to watch in this massive field could be Valmy Baie with 10 stone 1 pound whose owner Barry Connell says is his “best chance of a winner at Punchestown”. Willie Mullins holds his customary strong hand with six of the top twelve among his 20 entries.
Noel O’Brien, Senior Handicapper with the Turf Club “The Setanta Sports Hurdle looks like a corker! The tough bit will be assessing the cut-off point with such massive entries”
The Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 29th April to Saturday 3rd May 2014. For further information please visit www.punchestown.com