2021 Punchestown Champion Chase Preview
Mullins’ stars set to clash
Chacun Pour Soi heads the market for the upcoming William Hill Champion Steeplechase at the 2021 Punchestown Festival, with the nine-year-old currently 5/4 with the sponsors to land the fifth Grade 1 win of his career.
However, whilst Punchestown will suit Willie Mullins’ charge far more than the uphill finish he encountered at Cheltenham last month, purely on a form perspective he could have it all to do should stablemate ALLAHO join him in the lineup.
The Cheveley Park owned Allaho has long promised to be one of the most exciting national hunt horses in training, and his wide-margin victory in last month’s Ryanair Chase went some way to showcasing the seven-year-old’s latent ability.
That form has already received a huge boost courtesy of the second-placed Fakir D’oudairies, who subsequently landed the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree. On formlines through the aforementioned Fakir D’oudairies, Allaho appears to have the beating of Chacun Pour Soi, with Fakir finishing eight lengths behind Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown in February, but a more significant twelve lengths behind Allaho in the Ryanair Chase.
Should connections give Allaho the same positive ride he received at Cheltenham, he is expected to prove difficult to peg back. With this in mind, the 6/4 currently available on Allaho supplementing his Ryanair success looks well worth taking.
Paddy a play at the prices
With a strong pace likely, and three places currently on offer, CASTLEGRACE PADDY appeals as a 33/1 alternative to the selection.
This Flemensfirth gelding claimed the scalp of Gold Cup second A Plus Tard earlier this season, and his latest three seconds have shown that he remains in good heart.
Should this expectedly turn into a real burnup at the front end, expect the proven stamina of Castlegrace Paddy to come into play. Having finished in the first three in exactly half of his twenty-two races under rules to date, the 33/1 available on Pat Fahy’s charge to do exactly that next week looks a value each-way play.
Big Race Verdict
Allaho is expected to gain supremacy over his stablemate Chacun Pour Soi and provide trainer Willie Mullins with a sixth Punchestown Champion Chase win. The key formline in this race appears to come through Fakir D’oudairies, who has been well held by both Allaho and Chacun Pour Soi this season, yet found the former tougher despite putting in a personal best on the figures.
As this race has the potential to cut up, Castlegrace Paddy also looks a viable each-way alternative to the selection at odds of 33/1. He has run to a consistent level of form this season, and has the potential to pick off a few rivals late on should this expectantly turn into a stamina test.