John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f
- (5yo+, 2m 4f, Class 1, 3 runners)
- Winner €52,000 2nd €15,200 3rd €7,200 4th €2,400
- Going: Heavy
- Surface: Turf
- Winning time: 5m 24.60s
- Off time: 14:01:52
Flemenstar (IRE) 28
|7||164 11-10||P Casey||A E Lynch||168||Evsf|
Rubi Light (FR) 225
|7||164 11-10||R Hennessy||B J Geraghty||161||6/1|
Sir Des Champs (FR) 229
|6||164 11-10||W P Mullins||D N Russell||162||5/4|
||8||1110||A J Martin||R M Power||150||NR|
Rubi Light (FR)
||6||11-10||R Hennessy||A E Lynch||5/2|
A fabulous if select renewal, featuring two of Ireland's leading Gold Cup hopes. Rubi Light will go off outsider of four against three exciting second-season chasers but will set a strong gallop and ensure jumping fluency is properly put to the test. Sir Des Champs is unbeaten in five chases and in seven starts for Willie Mullins and rates a tremendous prospect over fences. He was most impressive when landing the Jewson at the Cheltenham Festival and currently heads the Gold Cup market. He may well be straight enough to go in first time up this term but FLEMENSTAR, winner of his last six starts over fences, is just preferred as he has the benefit of a run in the current campaign, is a proven Grade 1 performer and rates a fine jumper. Whatever the outcome, both are exceptional prospects who must be kept on the right side this term. Bog Warrior is the only horse to defeat Flemenstar over fences and confirmed his wellbeing with an effortless hurdling success this month. He has not progressed as well as the Casey charge over fences since but it would be folly to exclude him from calculations.
Bog Warrior (IRE) Evensfav (11-12) Soon tracked leader in 2nd, led after 3 out, asserted before 2 out, very easily, won at Fairyhouse 2m 4f hcp hdl 8Evens23 sft beating Wise Oscar (10-5) by 8l, 18 ran.
Flemenstar (IRE) 10-11fav (11-9) Made all, pushed out to assert before last, eased close home, won at Navan 2m chs Grd 2 (1) in Nov beating Big Zeb (11-12) by 7l, 5 ran.
Sir Des Champs (FR) 2-7fav (11-10) Made virtually all and jumped slightly left at times, joined briefly 5 out, went clear after 3 out, clear when mistake and almost unseated rider last, left further clear at last, kept on, easily, won at Punchestown 3m 1f nov chs G1 (1) gs in Apr beating Shop Dj (11-3) by 36l, 5 ran.
Rubi Light (FR) 5-2 (11-10) Close up and disputed lead, slight mistake 9th, niggled along in 2nd before 2 out, no extra in 4th approaching last, kept on same pace, 4th of 8, 13l behind China Rock (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) hvy in Apr.