Punchestown Gold Cup Entries: Mullins dominates entry list for Grade 1 showpiece
Willie Mullins holds nine of the 13 entries for the 2022 Punchestown Gold Cup, which takes place on day two of the Punchestown Festival next Wednesday and it could see imperious Ryanair Chase hero Allaho lock horns with the likes of dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo and former Gold Cup winner Minella Indo...
Add into the mix the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux and Gordon Elliott's Galvin then it's set fair for an epic renewal of the Grade 1 showpiece, which is often regarded as the flagship event and has been won by some of the finest talent to grace the three-mile chasing division.
With five wins in the contest, Mullins is the most successful trainer in the race's history and he will stand a huge chance of making it win number six as he has an embarrassment of riches entered for the event. Allaho was a stunning winner of the 2m 5f Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month, and while he's entered for the 2m Champion Chase on the opening day of the meeting, Mullins is expected to step him up in trip and let him have a crack at three miles, and he's the current market leader.
Kemboy won this race back in 2019 and he could be another notable challenger for the Mullins crew, while former Cheltenham Gold Cup dual winner Al Boum Photo will look to improve on his recent sixth placed finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and he will be another shot fired by the Closutton gun.
Shock King George VI Chase winner Tornado Flyer failed to replicate that effort in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and was pulled up, but could line up here, while Brahma Bull, Burrows Saint, Janidil, Melon and Royal Rendezvous add more depth to the Mullins entry list.
Mullins may have a bumper team entered, but he's likely to get some fierce opposition from the other four entries and reigning champion Clan Des Obeaux could make the trip over from Paul Nicholls' yard to try and retain his crown. Having bypassed Cheltenham, the legendary Ditcheat raider won the Bowl at Aintree's Grand National meeting a few weeks ago, and he will look to follow that up in this event, and he's a prominent figure in the betting.
A disappointing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Galvin will be looking to recapture his best form for Gordon Elliott in this event, and he has won a Grade 1 on home turf this season, so has to be given the utmost respect, while the Henry De Bromhead-trained Minella Indo will look to improve on his recent second placed finish in the Gold Cup in March.
No match for A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Festival blue riband event, Minella Indo produced a seasons best in the showpiece contest and will be looking to build on that effort in what is set to be a mouth-watering renewal of the Wednesday Grade 1 contest, which is off at 17:55.
A fine winner of the Melling Chase at Aintree, Joseph O'Brien's Fakir D'Oudairies could step up to three miles for this event, but like Allaho he holds an entry in the Punchestown Champion Chase, so it's interesting to see where he lines up, but he has shown to be in top form, so has to be a huge player as well.