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Sir Des Champ-ion!

ON the first day of the Punchestown Festival, the undoubted star on show is Willie Mullins' Sir Des Champs in the Growise Champion Novice Chase.

The six-year-old is unbeaten since moving to Ireland and is ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Sizing Europe should also atone for his near-miss when attempting to defend his Queen Mother crown in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase.

Tom Mullins' Alderwood is on a roll and might be a bit of value in the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.

At Folkestone, Andrew Balding's Just When caught the eye at Windsor last week and can open his account in the ladbrokesbingo.com Maiden Stakes. The Dalakhani colt, owned by George Strawbridge, has shown signs of greenness in his two runs to date but appeared to be getting the hang of things close home last time out.

George Baker's Piers Gaveston may be favourably treated in the Richard Flower Handicap. He showed enough ability in three maidens at two to suggest that a mark of 69 may leave some room for improvement.

Mark Johnston has made an unusual flying start with his juveniles and Storm Moon is taking to follow up a debut victory at Musselburgh in the British Stallion Studs 32Red.com E B F Novice Stakes at Southwell.

Paul Nicholls' Cedre Bleu can return to winning ways in the Attheraces Novices' Chase at Newton Abbot. At Towcester Milgen Bay can take the gg.com Novices' Handicap Chase.