National winner among the entries for Punchestown
Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30
While the expected battle between Don Cossack and Cue Card in tomorrow's €200,000 Gold Cup won't materialise as the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is ruled out due to injury, punters can still look forward to a great week of racing at the Punchestown Festival with Aintree Grand National hero Rule The World now among the confirmed entries.
It was initially thought that the nine-year-old would be retired after his incredible maiden win over fences.
However, owner Michael O'Leary and trainer Mouse Morris have decided to give the gelding an end-of-season run in this afternoon's Growise Champion Novice Chase.
He will face such rivals as Ballychorus, Sub Lieutenant and Shantou Flyer.
Although disappointed that Don Cossack suffered a set-back on Sunday morning, Gigginstown Stud will still be well represented in tomorrow's feature race by Road To Riches, who finished second in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Gold Cup third
Don Poli, who finished runner-up to Cue Card at Aintree, is also a possible starter.
"It's only a small leg (injury), but with tendon injuries it may as well be a big one," commented Gigginstown manager Eddie O'Leary of Don Cossack.
"He's won us a Gold Cup, and it could have happened before that, so we've at least that to be thankful for," he added.
"Road To Riches definitely runs. That's more his trip and it's all about the ground with him.
"He'll be there all being well."
Boasting a total prize-fund of €2.6m, the four-day Festival kicks off this afternoon, with the feature race being the €200,000 BoyleSports Champion Chase.
The race will see Special Tiara now meet Simonsig and Vautour, who was only pencilled in for this race on Sunday having skipped Sandown.
After he was forced to miss the Grand National through injury, Ruby Walsh returns in time for the big end-of-season meeting and will be on board the star seven-year-old.
Melling Chase winner God's Own also travels from Britain, with Clarcam, Flemenstar, Baily Green and Twinlight completing the eight-runner field.
Super-mare Annie Power is set to defend her crown in the Grade 1 BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Friday. She will meet the Henry de Bromhead-trained Identity Thief amongst others.
Over 120,000 are expected to attend the festival.