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2019 Punchestown Gold Cup tips – 7/4 chance to keep the Boum-train rolling for Mullins at Punchestown

Bellshill (near) powers through the gloom to win the Punchestown Gold Cup in 2018.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this historic Grade One Chase and provides readers with his tips for Punchestown on Wednesday 1st May.

The Punchestown Festival features half-a-dozen lucrative Grade Ones, none can match the grandeur and the prestige, however, of the Punchestown Gold Cup. Many of Ireland’s finest chasers from the past couple of decades have claimed victory in this Grade One, with the names of Beef Or Salmon, Florida Pearl, Kicking King and Carlingford Lough shining on the honours boards at the County Kildare venue.

Willie Mullins has enjoyed a tremendous spring, claiming his first ever victories in both the Irish Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Al Boum Photo (7/4 Unibet) was a surprise winner at Prestbury Park, outstaying a quality field to claim jumps racing’s most coveted prize. Mullins chaser came of age with that superb round of jumping and he will have an excellent chance of following up when he returns to Punchestown next month.

Rivalling his stablemate at the head of the market is Kemboy (13/8 Coral), who failed to get past the first fence when he made his Gold Cup debut at Cheltenham. The Savills’ Chase winner made amends at Aintree in fabulous fashion the following month, destroying many of the horses he faced in the Gold Cup to claim his second Grade One of the campaign.

There’s then a decent gap in the market until we reach Bellshill (7/1 Ladbrokes), who outfought Djakadam to score a narrow victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup 12 months ago. Ruby Walsh’s mount got the better of Road To Respect to win a depleted race at the Dublin Racing Festival. Bellshill then jumped terribly in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, forcing Walsh to pull his steed out of the firing line well before the end of the first circuit.

I really fancied Monalee (12/1 William Hill) to relish the trip in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, especially after a strong victory over Anibale Fly in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park. Frodon didn’t allow Henry De Bromhead’s charge to take his customary position at the front of the field and Monalee struggled from then on, finished outside the places without ever really threatening to get involved. I’ve never been convinced that three miles his Monalee’s best trip and Grade Ones continually prove to be a little beyond his grasp.

Former Ryanair winner, Balko Des Flos (20/1 Unibet) produced his best performance of the season at Aintree, holding on from the front to claim the third and final place. Davy Russell’s mount was all-out just to finish third that day and he will need to improve again if he wants to replicate that result. Whether he will be able to do that, I highly doubt.

Definitly Red (33/1 Ladbrokes) travels over the Punchestown for the first time and Brian Ellison's dual Grade Two winner has to be mentioned, even if he is a little below the level of he market leaders. Snow Falcon (40/1 Unibet) produced a career-best effort to beat Shattered Love in a Grade Two at the start of the season but he - along with The Storyteller (40/1 Unibet) , who has been woefully out of for during his first season outside novice company - will have to find a heck of a lot to trouble the principle contenders here.

Bellshill is unbeaten here at Punchestown, winning Grade Ones on the flat, over hurdles and last year in this very race.  There is some value to be had backing last year’s winner each-way at 7/1, but Bellshill is a very sketchy performer, capable of the sublime and the substandard on any given day, which makes his very hard to tip.  

Kemboy shot up to a stunning rating of 174 after that faultless display at Aintree, where Ruby Walsh’s mount couldn’t have been more impressive. There’s no doubting, however, that the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Bristol De Mai and Road To Respect all underperformed that day, allowing Kemboy to dictate the race, as he did at Leopardstown. I remain unconvinced that Kemboy truly is one of the best in the business and there’s plenty of value to be found backing AL BOUM PHOTO, in what is likely to be a biblical clash.

Jumping errors and inexperience cropped up throughout Al Boum Photo’s novice chasing season last term. While Mullins’ exuberant seven-year-old failed to complete on half of his outings. Yet, there were definite signs of star quality during his Ryanair Gold Cup victory and here at Punchestown - where Al Boum Photo was still yet to be asked a question in the Growise, before Paul Townend inexplicably decided to bypass the final fence.

On his only outing before Cheltenham, Al Boum Photo comfortably dealt with Total Recall and Invitation Only with a composed display at Tramore. Despite Mullins’ fears that this year’s Gold Cup was coming a little early in his career, Al Boum Photo proved again he had matured and improved during the course of the last year, staying on brilliantly to hold off Anibale Fly and Bristol De Mai quite convincingly. 

There’s no reason why this mercurial talent cannot progress even further over the coming seasons and I expect Al Boum Photo – and Paul Townend - to make up for that farcical exit 12 months ago by claiming Punchestown Gold Cup glory.

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2019 Punchestown Gold Cup tips – 7/4 chance to keep the Boum-train rolling for Mullins at Punchestown

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this historic Grade One Chase and provides readers with his tips for Punchestown on Wednesday 1st May.

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