Willie Mullins has had a field day at recent editions of the Punchestown Festival, notching 14 winners at the 2022 meeting and a massive 19 the year before that.
The Closutton trainer will once again fire an arsenal of elite equine talent at the five-days in Kildare, including several Cheltenham Festival winners. That makes a Mullins multiple an attractive option.
Below we identify a four-fold that we can’t see being beaten.
Punchestown Day Willie Mullins Multiple
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Facile Vega to win the KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle
Willie Mullins looks to have this race well and truly sewn up given he saddles more than half the five-runner field. Facile Vega will be odds on but could go off a lot shorter than the forecast 4/6.
The six-year-old finished comfortably ahead of reopposing stablemates Diverge and Il Etait Temps in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and clearly likes it around Punchestown having won the Grade 1 bumper at this meeting last year.
Energumene to win the William Hill Champion Chase
Gentleman Du Mee will be an eye-catching price for those looking to take on the favourite, but any doubters are clutching at some fairly slippery straws in this affair.
Energumene proved his defeat in the rearrange Clarence House Chase was a one-off blip when taking out the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival with contemptuous ease on his most recent start.
He’s rate 11lbs better than any of his rivals here and can win this race comfortably for the second year in succession.
Galopin Des Champs to win the Punchestown Gold Cup
Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs has won his two previous races round Punchestown by 12 lengths or more, with both of those contests Grade 1 affairs.
He must be pretty close to certain to extend his record to three from three at the track and seven from eight over fences at the expense of Cheltenham silver medallist Bravemansgame.
The shorter 3m trip in the Punchestown version should suit the Paul Nicholls raider better than the 3m2f at Cheltenham, but the fact that he was tuned up to concert pitch for Aintree two weeks ago before being withdrawn by the authorities has to be a negative for his chances here.
State Man to win Paddy Power Champion Hurdle
It’s tough to fathom how the second-best hurdler in training will fail to register his second successive Grade 1 win at the Punchestown Festival here.
He’s already comfortably beaten the best of his rivals in this contest, Vauban, Sharjah and Pied Piper, this season and should be set fair to resume plundering top-flight hurdles races with Cheltenham conqueror Constitution Hill finished for the season.