Pipe eyes Punchestown Gold Cup raid with Ballynagour
there was a boost for the Punchestown Festival yesterday with David Pipe set to run last Thursday's Betfred Bowl runner-up, Ballynagour, in the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup.
Off the track since being pulled up in the Hennessy at Newbury last November, Ballynagour pushed Silviniaco Conti all the way at Aintree and Pipe is keen to send him to Ireland at the end of the month.
"It was a fantastic run the other day - Ballynagour came out of it well and we are definitely thinking of a trip to Punchestown," said Pipe. "The horse has had a light season and he's not the easiest to get right so we'd like to go to Ireland. We always enjoy visiting Punchestown."
Ballynagour is one of 25 entries for the €200,000 Grade One on April 29 and one of seven possible British raiders.
Silviniaco Conti is on the list for Paul Nicholls, but stablemate Al Ferof appears the more likely runner for the Ditcheat team.
Colin Tizzard's Cue Card, Jonjo O'Neill's Holywell, the Philip Hobbs-trained Menorah and David Bridgwater's stable star The Giant Bolster are also potential travellers.
Predictably, champion trainer Willie Mullins is well represented with Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam and RSA Chase winner Don Poli among six possibles. Noel Meade's Gold Cup third Road To Riches is also on the list.
Mullins' runaway winner of the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham, Douvan, heads 18 entries for the Grade One Herald Champion Novice Hurdle on the opening day of the festival.
Among his potential opponents are stablemates Shaneshill, runner-up in the Supreme, and Nichols Canyon, a Grade One winner at Aintree on Saturday.
Newmarket trainer John Ferguson has three entries - Parlour Games, runner-up to Nichols Canyon at Aintree, plus Commissioned and Qewy.