We’re all looking forward to five days of excellent racing, so this week we’re bringing you a special report relating to the 2012 Punchestown Festival, starting with some general stats:
Ruby Walsh has ridden the most winners at the meeting in seven of the last nine years.
Willie Mullins has saddled fifty winners since 2005, securing the trainers title every year during the period.
British winners in recent years:
2011 (8 winners) Nicky Henderson (4)–Philip Hobbs (2) and one each for David Pipe and Tim Vaughan.
2010: (3 winners) Philip Hobbs, Evan Williams and Nick Williams.
2009: (4 winners) Nicky Henderson–Paul Nicholls–Nigel Twiston Davies–Philip Hobbs.
2008: (7 winners) Paul Nicholls (2) was the only trainer to saddle more than one winner.
4.20 (Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle): Seventeen favourites have prevailed via thirty-two renewals since 1980. Thirty one of those winners were returned in single figures (8/1 or less). Five and six-year-olds have secured fifteen of the last sixteen renewals, with five-year-olds shading the spoils 8-7 of late. Willie Mullins has won two of the last three renewals.
5.30 (Grade 1 Champion Chase): Although ‘only’ four favourites have obliged via the last thirteen renewals, twelve gold medallists were returned at odds of 8/1 or less. Eleven favourites have prevailed via thirty-two renewals since 1980. Famous horses to have won this race down the years include: Master Minded (2009–30/100*), Moscow Society (2004–4/11*), Flagship Uberalles (2003–8/1), dual winner Klairon Davies (1996/1997–5/2 & 11/10*), Viking Flagship (1993–5/4*) and Buck House (1985–11/10*)
6.40: (Champion Novice Chase): Six renewals have slipped by without a winning favourite being registered though that said, five of those gold medallists were returned at odds of 9/1 or less. Favourites have won seven of the twenty contests to date. Only two horses have won in double figures, both winners being returned at 16/1. Seven-year-olds have won five of the last six renewals.
Grade 1 three-mile Novice Hurdle event scheduled for 4.50: One favourite has won via just four contests thus far. Two winners have emerged at 33/1 and 16/1 to date.
Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup scheduled for 5.30: Favourites have won eight of the last eleven renewals, albeit the last two winners scored at 20/1 and 14/1. It’s worth noting that before the run of favourites hammered the layers, the previous nine successive market leaders were beaten. Seven and eight-year-olds have (equally) shared six of the last seven renewals.
Grade 1 INH Flat Race scheduled for 6.05: Willie Mullins and Noel Meade have both saddled a couple of winners in the last six years. Five market leaders have prevailed via twenty renewals since the inaugural race back in 1992. The last seven winners have scored at odds of 10/1 or less, whilst five-year-olds have the best record in the contest. Vintage representatives have won three of the last four renewals, whilst having secured nine of the twenty events thus far.
Four mile one furlong Cross Country Chase scheduled for 4.50: Favourites have secured three of the last five contests and ten of the nineteen events to date. Enda Bolger boasts staggering figures of twelve of the last fourteen winners of the race, whilst only one winner in double figures (25/1) has emerged during the last sixteen contests.
Grade 1 World Series Hurdle scheduled for 5.30: The last four favourites have prevailed (the last three trained by Willie Mullins), whilst a total of eight market leaders have won via twenty renewals. Before Willie Mullins took charge of proceedings, trainers from this side of the Irish Sea had saddled seven of the twelve winners between 1997 and 2008.
Grade 1 two-mile Novice Chase scheduled for 6.40: Last year’s successful (4/6) favourite brought an end to seven barren years for punters, albeit the biggest priced winner during the period was a 6/1 chance. Results have not all been negative for investors however, as six of the previous eight favourites had won. Six British trained winners have emerged via twenty renewals, whilst seven-year-olds have held the call securing nine victories down the years.
Grade ‘A’ Novice Handicap Chase over two miles five furlongs scheduled for 4.55: Four favourites have obliged via twelve contests to date, whilst Willie Mullins has secured three of the last five renewals. Seven-year-olds lead the eight-year-olds 5-4 thus far.
Grade 1 Champion Hurdle scheduled for 5.30: Favourites have won six of the sixteen renewals to date, all bar one winner having been returned at odds of 6/1 or less. The ‘culprit’ was the 2007 winner Silent Oscar who prevailed at 20/1. Seven-year-olds have won half (8/16) of the contests thus far.
Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles scheduled for 6.05: Favourites have won six of the last eight contests, whilst Willie Mullins has saddled five winners during the last decade. Six-year-olds lead the five-year-olds 8-6 via seventeen contests thus far.
Three mile one furlong Champion Hunter Case scheduled for 7.45: Nine renewals have slipped by since the last favourite obliged though that said, nine of the previous eleven contests were secured by market leaders.
Grade 1 Four-Year-Old hurdle scheduled for 4.25: Seven favourites have obliged since 1980, thirty-two renewals having been contested during the period. Although only one successful market leader has emerged in the last seven years, the biggest priced gold medallist was returned at just 6/1. British trainers have secured nine of the last fourteen winners.