Gigginstown mob-handed at Punchestown
Balko Des Flos one of 11 runners set to dominate Punchestown’s fixture
Balko Des Flos wins the The Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in 2018.
Michael O’Leary’s plans to withdraw from racing are hardly reflected at Punchestown’s Wednesday fixture where his Gigginstown Stud team could be set to dominate.
Just one of the four runners in the Grade Three Ladbrokes Buck House Novice Chase isn’t owned by the Ryanair boss.
Later he has four of the six starters for the other feature, the Daily Star Chase, and two other exciting young runners on the card, Beacon Edge and Fantasio D’alene are also O’Leary’s.
In total there are 11 Gigginstown representatives which makes the champion owner’s intention to withdraw completely from the sport over the next five years seem a long-term prospect.
However, it is the three mile Grade Three which underlines the ultimate likely impact of his shock decision in May.
O’Leary has won the race seven times in the last eight years including with his 2015 Gold Cup hero Don Cossack. The businessman’s other Blue Riband winner War Of Attrition landed the spoils in 2008.
The star power this time looks like being provided by Balko Des Flos who fulfilled his owner’s long-held dream by landing the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last year.
He failed to defend the crown last season but subsequently ran well at Liverpool and both Balko Des Flos’ rating and the weights make him a clear pick on anything like his best form.
Willie Mullins’s Cool Colonade is the odd one out in the Buck House where Jan Maat will be glad not to have to clash with Wicklow Brave again and Swordsman meets different ground to what he won on at Roscommon. Conditions may suit Daly Tiger more after his debut chase win at Tipperary.
Beacon Edge was third in the Champion Bumper here during the Spring and looks the one to beat in the opener while O’Leary’s €165,000 purchase Fantasio D’alene has potentially crucial bumper experience form Fairyhouse last April.