It has been an unforgettable few weeks for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud with Don Cossack winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Rogue Angel landing the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and Rule The World capturing Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree.
The Gigginstown team are aiming to finish the season on a high closer to home with a powerful squad assembled for the Punchestown Festival.
“It’s been awesome. We’ve had a fantastic time and we would love to crown the season with a few Punchestown winners,” said Eddie O’Leary, Gigginstown’s racing manager.
Heading the squad is Don Cossack, set to take on Cue Card and Vautour in a brilliant Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, April 27.
“We don’t hide away and this is the big decider. It will be a hell of race,” said O’Leary. “All three are probably best on good ground so I hope the going is perfect for them so that they can all shine.”
“You had to be really impressed with Cue Card at Aintree, he’s a fantastic horse. Perhaps a flat track and three miles is his cup of tea whereas this race is over three miles and a furlong. We wouldn’t swap our fellow and they wouldn’t swap their’s. With Vautour in there as well it’s just a fabulous race. It’s great for racing and it’s great for Puchestown.”
Road To Riches, who finished second in the 2m 4f Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, will also line up while Cheltenham Gold Cup third Don Poli, who finished runner-up to Cue Card at Aintree, is a possible starter.
“Road To Riches definitely runs,” added O’Leary. “That’s more his trip and it’s all about the ground with him. He’ll be there all being well. I don’t know with Don Poli. There’s nowhere else for him to go and he could run.”
There was no easier winner at Aintree last week than the Willie Mullins-trained Apple’s Jade, who won the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle by an amazing 41 lengths. She is set to start in the Grade 1 AES Champion 4YO Hurdle on Saturday, April 30.
“If you believe what you saw at Aintree then Apple’s Jade is very good but it was hard to believe,” said O’Leary. “She’ll go for the four-year-old race. She never ran on the Flat and that was only her fourth ever run at Aintree. She’s a little baby coming through and if she’s OK she’ll run at Punchestown.”
At Sandown Park on Saturday Sprinter Sacre is strongly fancied to follow up his Cheltenham win by taking the Celebration Chase over 2m.
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