PAT HEALY’S VIEW: Pat reflects on the action so far this week at Punchestown including the wins for Chacun Pour Soi and Clan Des Obeaux. He also can’t wait to see Honeysuckle back in action on Friday at the Festival.
We’ve been treated to a great opening couple of days at Punchestown and before reviewing the action, I’d just like to thank the ground staff for the fantastic job they’ve done so far. Sean Ryan and his team as well as Clerk of the Course, Brendan Sheridan, have been superb in getting things fit for the meeting. Before this week, they’d had 21 racedays this season and you wouldn’t know based on the condition of the track. All the jockeys and trainers have been very complimentary too, particularly as Punchestown isn’t easy to manage, as there are so many tracks on it, but they’ve made sure it’s in the perfect state for everyone.
Looking back on the action so far and it’s already been what we’ve become accustomed to with Willie Mullins winning half the races so far. Interestingly seven of his eight wins have come under different jockeys which shows the strength of the weighing room at the moment. The last few years has shown us that after Cheltenham, Punchestown is Willie’s second biggest priority. The prize money is now so big now that it makes sense to target the meeting and his results speak for themselves. Paul Townend has ridden two of those winners and he looks back to 100 per cent, barring a minor miracle it looks like he’ll be crowned Champion Jockey.
Chacun Pour Soi
Chacun Pour Soi (main pic above) was absolutely breath taking in the Champion Chase. He was clearly a different horse here than he was at Cheltenham and when he’s in the groove he’s a proper two-miler. Let’s just hope we see that horse come next March in the Champion Chase because he’s a real star and one we’d all love to see do it on the highest stage of them all. He’s clearly fragile and takes plenty of care, but let’s just hope he can stay in one piece and we get to enjoy him for many years to come.
The big clash
Sadly we didn’t quite get to see the two big guns, Envoi Allen and Monkfish take each other on, but let’s take nothing away from Colreevy who was superb. She’s in foal to Walk In The Park and as we’ve seen mares in foal can do great things. I don’t think that was Monkfish’s true running and he’s perhaps just feeling the effects of a long season.
As for Envoi Allen, he clearly wasn’t right and let’s just hope the issue isn’t anything to serious. He left his hind legs in one of the ditches and that’s more than likely the reason for him coming home lame. It’s back to the drawing board, so to speak, and it will be fascinating to see how Henry [De Bromhead] goes with getting him back on course. A couple of bad runs doesn’t make him a bad horse and we all want to see him back to his best.
Clan Des Obeaux
It was a great result for racing to see Clan Des Obeaux win the Punchestown Gold Cup. The Irish have dominated recently and it was fantastic for Paul Nicholls to bring one over to Ireland. It was also great for Sam Twiston-Davies. He works ever so hard and to have big winners like Clan Des Obeaux makes all that hard work worth it. We were all delighted to see the result, so fair play to them for making the decision.
For me, Honeysuckle has been the star of the season. She’s now in the bracket of Annie Power and Dawn Run and who’s to say she won’t even be better than those two. If she keeps progressing, who knows how far she can go. It’s a strong race on Friday, but if the same Honeysuckle from Cheltenham turns up then you’d have to imagine they’ll only be one result.