Friday 24 March 2017

Irish date for Punjabi

Punjabi will bid to rebuild his slightly tarnished reputation in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old went into Cheltenham as the defending champion hurdler and hopes were high he could retain his crown but, after racing fairly prominently in the early stages, he dropped away tamely in the final half mile to finish ninth.

"He'll go to Ireland again for the Rabobank," confirmed Tony Stafford, racing manager to Punjabi's owner Raymond Tooth.

"Barry Geraghty said he was beaten three out, which was disappointing considering how everyone was expecting him to run. I think what you have to say is that in a championship race of any kind if you are just slightly off your game you won't win -- look at the Gold Cup and Kauto Star."

Meanwhile, Kauto Star has been scratched from the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 24.

Irish Independent

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