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PUNCHESTOWN DAY ONE: SHAMROCK looks forward to a terrific opening day of the Punchestown Festival which gets underway at 3.40pm this afternoon.

An incredible afternoon for racing fans with three Grade 1’s on the opening day of Punchestown.

It’s hard to even work out what the highlight is – take your pick between the heads-up battles between Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho in the Champion Chase and Monkfish v Envoi Allen in the Champion Novice Chase.

The BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE market is just favouring Monkfish over Envoi Allen which should be a thriller but both horses have something to prove after Cheltenham.

Monkfish wasn’t at his best and survived a blunder at the last which would have sunk lesser mortals before going on to maintain his unbeaten record whereas Envoi Allen took an early tumble in the Marsh Novices’ Chase and has a new pilot today in Rachael Blackmore. Definitely a watching race for me and the significant point is that Willie Mullins runs the other two of the quartet so any tactical play is likely to favour his Monkfish.

Allaho was so good at Cheltenham in the Ryanair I can’t look beyond him in the 5.25pm. I’m hoping the official ratings prove right on this occasion and he has just a bit too much up his sleeve to account for stable companion Chacun Pour Soi who was one of the few bankers to disappoint at Cheltenham when an odds-on third in the Champion Chase.

NAP: Allaho (5.25 Punchestown)