Punchestown Festival: Race List & Meeting Info

Young thoroughbred horse

The National Hunt season is coming to its end but before our attention turns fully to the flat, we’ve got the ever popular Punchestown Festival to enjoy. There are big races on each day of the meeting but there’s no doubt that the feature of the festival is Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup.

 

Day One Races - Champion Chase Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase For The Ladies Perpetual Cup   3m 1f €9,240 5YO plus
Herald Champion Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m 100y €59,000 4YO plus
Killashee Handicap Hurdle Grade B 2m 100y €35,400 4YO plus
Boylesports Champion Chase Grade 1 2m €176,999 5YO plus
Goffs Land Rover Bumper   2m 100y €59,000 4YO to 5YO
Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase Grade 1 3m 120y €59,000 5YO plus
Sanctuary Synthetics Flat Race   2m 100y €9,240 4YO only

Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase For The Ladies Perpetual Cup

3m 1f

Run in association with Kildare Hunt Club at the time of writing, this cross-country race offers the participants not only the chance to with the €15,000 prize money but also the Ladies Perpetual Cup. It’s open to horses aged five and over and there are twenty-eight fences to be jumped during the three miles and one furlong of the race.

Herald Champion Novice Hurdle

Grade 1, 2m 100y

Open to horses aged five and over with a weight of eleven stone and twelve pounds (mares are given a seven pound allowance), the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle is run right-handed over two miles and half a furlong. There are nine hurdles to be jumped during the race's running and it is, as the name suggests, an event for novice hurdlers.

It was previously open to horses aged four and over, with the minimum age going up to five in 1992. It has been sponsored by a number of companies since its creation, with the Evening Herald newspaper taking over the responsibility in 2000 and then again in 2009. In 2013 it took on its current moniker when the newspaper changed its own name. A Grade 2 race for a time, it was given Grade 1 status in 1998.

Despite being open to horses aged five and up, no horse has been able to to win it more than once to date. There have still been some well-known winners of it, however, with the likes of Hurricane Fly, Moscow Flyer and Faugheen amongst the names that most racing fans will recognise. They'll also know the name of Ruby Walsh, who holds the record for wins as a jockey with five, and Willie Mullins, who has won it seven times and leads the way for trainers.

Killashee Handicap Hurdle

Grade B, 2m 100y

A Grade B race, this handicap offering is open to horses aged four and over. Run over two miles and one hundred yards, there are nine hurdles to be jumped during the course of the race. The winner takes home €60,000, so it’s little wonder why it’s such a popular event. When the Going is Soft the race lasts for about four minutes or so.

Boylesports Champion Chase

Grade 1, 2m

A Group 1 offering for horses aged five and over, the Champion Chase is run right-handed over a distance of two miles, with eleven fences to be jumped during that. Five-year-olds get a weight of eleven stone and nine pounds, whilst horses aged six and over have eleven stone and twelve pounds but mares are given a seven pound allowance.

The race was originally run as a handicap and during the 1990s and the early part of the Noughties it was sponsored by the German car maker BMW. It was made into a Conditions race in 1999 and enjoyed a number of different sponsors before Boylesports got involved in 2010. Horses that did well in the Queen Mother Champion Chase during the Cheltenham Festival often take part in this event, with Sprinter Sacre winning both in 2013.

Seven different horses have won the race twice. They are as follows:

  • Shower Of Silver (1955, 1956)
  • Muir (1969, 1970)
  • Skymas (1972, 1973)
  • Light The Wad (1981, 1982)
  • Klairon Davis (1996, 1997)
  • Sizing Europe (2012, 2014)
  • Un de Sceaux (2018, 2019)

Numerous jockeys have won the race more than once, with names like Andrew Lynch, Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh on the list in the modern era. Even so, they'll have to go some way to match Pat Taafe's record of five wins between 1951 and 1966. Similarly the likes of Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have seen horses they've trained win the race on several occasions, but Tom Dreaper's six wins between 1961 and 1971 remain the record.

Goffs Land Rover Bumper

2m 100y

The next race of the day is a flat one that is run under Irish National Hunt rules. Sponsored by a local car dealership at the time of writing, it is open to horses aged four and five. The prize money on offer is an impressive €100,000, which might be what spurs the horses on to complete the two miles and one hundred furlongs in about four minutes on Soft ground.

Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase

Grade 1, 3m 120y

Run right-handed over three miles and half a furlong, the Champion Novice Chase is open to horses aged five and over. Five-year-olds have a weight of eleven stone and five pounds to work with, whilst horses aged six and over have eleven stone and ten pounds. Mares are given an allowance of seven pounds. During the course of the race there are seventeen fences that the horses will need to negotiate.

There have been similar events to this one run at Punchestown in the past, though the current iteration has only been taking place since 2007. When it was introduced it was sponsored by Ellier Developments before Boylesports took over in 2009 and then Growise had the honour from the year after. Dooley Insurance Group became the race's sponsors in 2019 and it began to bear their name as a result.

The race is the Irish equivalent of the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase that takes place during the Cheltenham Festival each year. At the time of writing, no horse has won both races and no horse has won this one more than once. The same cannot be said of jockeys, however, with Davy Russell racking up five wins between 2011 and 2019. When it comes to the race's most successful trainers, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have three wins apiece.

Sanctuary Synthetics Flat Race

2m 100y

Sponsored by Sanctuary Synthetics at the time of writing, the race that brings the first day of the Festival to a close is a flat race that is run under Irish National Hunt rules. It lasts for two miles and one hundred yards, much like the previous bumper, but it is only open to four-year-olds and gives them a chance to gain some experience on a jump racing course.

 

Day Two Races - Punchestown Gold Cup Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle   2m 5f €18,450 4YO plus
Connolly's Red Mills Irish Ebf Auction Hurdle Series Final   2m 4f €44,250 4YO plus
Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle   2m 4f €15,375 4YO plus
Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle Grade 1 3m €59,000 4YO plus
Coral Punchestown Gold Cup Grade 1 3m 120y €176,999 5YO plus
Racing Post App Champion I.N.H. Flat Race For The Conyngham Cup Grade 1 2m 70y €59,000 4YO to 7YO
Guinness Handicap Chase Grade A 2m 4f €59,000 5YO plus
Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race Grade 3 2m 70y €29,500 4YO to 7YO

Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle

2m 5f

Day Two of the Festival gets underway with a Series Final race that is open to horses aged four and over with a rating of between 95 and 123. The handicappers then use those ratings to decide how much weight the horses will have to carry around the two miles and five furlongs of the course, which features eleven hurdles for the participants to negotiate.

Connolly's Red Mills Irish Ebf Auction Hurdle Series Final

2m 4f

Sponsored by Connolly’s Red Mills and run in association with the Irish European Breeders’ Fund, this series final event takes place over two miles and four furlongs. It’s open to horses aged four and over and it takes them about five minutes to run the race when the Going is Good to Soft, jumping eleven hurdles as they make their way around.

Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle

2m 4f

A race open to horses aged four and over, this event is sponsored by the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel at the time of writing. There are eleven hurdles to be jumped during the two miles and four furlongs of the race, which offers prize money of €25,000 to the winner. On Good to Soft ground, you can expect this race to last for about five minutes, give or take.

Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle

Grade 1, 3m

One of those races that tells you everything you need to know about it in its title, this event is for novice hurdlers and is sponsored by the Irish Daily Mirror. It's a Grade 1 offering for horses aged four and over, run right-handed over a distance of around three miles. There are fourteen hurdles that the horses will need to jump before the final stretch.

Arguably the most impressive thing about the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle is the manner in which it has risen through the gradings since its inception in 2005. It was made a Grade 3 offering in 2009, moved to Grade 2 in 2010 and then promoted to Grade 1 the year after.

In terms of the most successful participants, no horse has won it more than once, but Paul Townend has won it three times as a jockey and Barry Geraghty has racked up four wins at the time of writing. Whilst the likes of Jessica Harrington and Gordon Elliott have trained winners, no trainer can come close to Willie Mullins' record of five wins between 2005 and 2019.

Coral Punchestown Gold Cup

Grade 1, 3m 120y

There was a version of the Punchestown Gold Cup that was limited to novice chasers, but this was stopped and the current iteration was introduced in 1999. It was known as the Heineken Gold Cup for a time when it was sponsored by the beer maker, then Diageo took over in 2005. It has enjoyed a number of different sponsors since then, with the bookmaker Coral taking over duties in 2017.

As you might well imagine, horses that have previous run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup often take part in this race and in 2017 Sizing John won both events. It's a race that offers you insight into talented jumpers, with Neptune Collonges being the most successful horse in it thanks to victories in 2007 and 2008, four years before winning the Grand National. Once again it's a race that offers records for Ruby Walsh as a jockey and Willie Mullins as a trainer, who have won it six and five times respectively.

Run right-handed over three miles and half a furlong, the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup is open to horses aged five and over with a weight of eleven stone five pounds for five-year-olds, eleven stone ten pounds for horses aged six and up and a seven pound allowance for mares. There are seventeen fences that must one jumped during the race's running.

Racing Post App Champion I.N.H. Flat Race For The Conyngham Cup

Grade 1, 2m 70y

Open to horses aged between four and seven, the Champion INH Flat Race is for amateur jockeys and is run over a distance of two miles and half a furlong. It has enjoyed a number of sponsors in its existence, including At The Races, the Racing Post and the bookmaker Paddy Power. It's a Grade 1 race that is open to geldings and mares aged between four and seven with the following weight information at play:

  • 4-year-olds: 11 stone 4 pounds
  • 5 to 7-year-olds: 12 stone 0 pounds
  • Mares are given a 7 pound allowance

The race wasn't always limited in terms of its age, with the upper age limit of seven only being introduced in 2007. Horses that performed in the Champion Bumper during the Cheltenham Festival usually travel over to take part in this one, with Cousin Vinny in 2008, Dunguib in 2009 and Fayonagh in 2017 being horses that won both in the same season. In the case of Dunguib, however, he was disqualified from the Irish Bumper after testing positive for a substance that had been banned.

Patrick Mullins was the jockey on Cousin Vinny and Jamie Codd rode Fayonagh to victory, with the pair sharing three wins each and leading the way for jockeys. Willie Mullins was the trainer of the former horse but not the latter, yet that doesn't stop him from being the race's most successful trainer since 1992. He has enjoyed nine victories to date, with his first coming in 1995 and his most recent in 2019.

Guinness Handicap Chase

Grade A, 2m 4f

Surely at least one race at an Irish horse racing festival has to be sponsored by Guinness, with that honour falling to this handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival. It is run over two miles and four furlongs and is open to horses aged five and over. A Grade A race that boasts fourteen fences during its running, the prize money sits at €100,000.

Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race

Grade 3, 2m 70y

The final race worthy of a mention is the Grade 3 Mares INH Flat Race, which is run over a distance of two miles and half a furlong. Open to mares and fillies aged four to seven, it's for amateur riders and is also known as the Liss A Paoraigh EBF Bumper.

It was only introduced to the Festival in 2016 when it was a Listed race, but the year after it has been run at Grade 3 and any penalties were abolished in order to make it the equivalent of the Champion INH Flat Race but for female horses only.

Both the age limit and the fact that it's only been running for a short period of time limits the number of horses that have won it, but that doesn't stop the Mullins family from being heavily involved. Patrick Mullins won the race in its debut year as well as two years later, with both horses having been trained by his dad Willie Mullins to make them the most successful jockey and trainer to date.

 

Day Three Races - Champion Stayers Hurdle Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Jlt Handicap Hurdle   2m 40y €18,450 4YO plus
Pigsback.com Handicap Chase Grade B 2m €38,350 4YO plus
Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase   4m 2f €18,450 5YO plus
Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle Grade 1 3m €176,999 4YO plus
Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle Grade B 3m €35,400 4YO plus
Ryanair Novice Chase Grade 1 2m €67,850 5YO plus
Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle Listed 2m 40y €21,525 4YO plus
Kildare Post Class 1 2m 40y €10,780 4YO to 7YO

Jlt Handicap Hurdle

2m 40y

Sponsored by JLT at the time of writing, this handicap hurdle features nine obstacles for the horses to get over during its two miles and forty yards of running. The race is for horses aged four and over that have a rating of between 88 and 123, which the handicappers will then use to decide how much weight each horse must carry in its search for the €30,000 in prize money.

Pigsback.com Handicap Chase

Grade B, 2m

A Grade B race that is sponsored by pigsbacks.com at the time of writing, it is run over two miles and will take the leading horses about four minutes or so to complete when the Going is Good to Soft. There are eleven fences for the competitors to get over during the course of the race, which is open to those aged four and over and offers €65,000 in prize money.

Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase

4m 2f

Run over four miles and two furlongs on the cross country course, this race features thirty-six obstacles that the horses will need to get over if they hope to cross the finish line first and win the €30,000 prize. It’s open to horses aged five and over and is sponsored by Mongey Communications at the time of writing. Winners also take home the La Touche Cup.

Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle

Grade 1, 3m

The key race of day three of the Festival is the Champion Stayers Hurdle, which is run over three miles and is open to horses aged four and up. Four-year-olds get a weight of ten stone and thirteen pounds, whilst horses aged five and over have eleven stone and ten pounds with fillies and mares given an allowance of seven pounds. There are fourteen hurdles to be jumped during the duration of the race.

The event was known as the Tipperkevin Hurdle for a time, only gaining its current moniker in 1997. During the Noughties it was sponsored by Ballymore Properties and known as the World Series Hurdle, reverting back to its current title not when Ladbrokes began sponsoring it in 2008 but in 2017. It as, as the racing lovers amongst you will have guessed, Irish racing's equivalent of the Stayers' Hurdle run at Cheltenham during the Festival.

Anzum won both of the races in 1999, though no other horse comes even remotely close to the success of Quevega in this race. The horse won it four times in succession between 2010 and 2013, not only earning the success for herself but also putting the jockey that rode her, Ruby Walsh, and the trainer that worked with her, Willie Mullins, at the top of their respective piles.

Walsh enjoyed three wins on Quevega and two others for a total of five wins in this event, whilst Mullins added wins with Holy Orders, Fiveforthree and Faugheen to four wins with Quevega for a total of seven victories apiece.

Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle

Grade B, 3m

The Grade B handicap hurdle is currently sponsored by Conway Piling and is open to horses aged four and over. Run over a distance of three miles, there are thirteen hurdles that competitors will need to jump before reaching the final straight. The winning horse will take home in the region of €60,000, with the race lasting for about six minutes on Good to Soft ground.

Ryanair Novice Chase

Grade 1, 2m

A chase for novices that is sponsored by Ryanair, this offering is run right-handed over two miles and is open to horses aged five and over. Five-year-olds have a weight attached of eleven stone and eight pounds, whilst horses aged six and up get eleven stone and ten pounds. Mares are given an allowance of seven pounds, too. There are eleven fences that must be jumped during the course of the race.

This race hasn't had as many sponsors as some others, with the Bank Of Ireland and Tripleprint both doing so in the 1990s before Swordlestone Stud took over in 2000 and then Ryanair got the honour in 2010. Horses that have performed will in the Cheltenham Festival's Arkle Challenge Trophy are usually competitive in this event, as evidenced by the fact that Footpad won them both in 2018.

Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh have both won this race four times as jockeys, whilst it's that man Willie Mullins who leads the way as a trainer with seven wins between 2009 and 2019. The race as a whole reads like something of a who's who in the world of successful horses when you look at the winners' list, with the likes of Viking Flagship, Moscow Flyer and Un de Sceaux all have prospered in it.

Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle

Listed, 2m 40y

This Listed race is currently sponsored by Close Brothers and is open to female novice hurdlers. It takes place over two miles and forty yards, which will take the horses about four minutes or so to run when the Going is Good to Soft. There are nine hurdles that the horses aged four and over will have to make it over if they want to take home the €35,000 prize money.

Kildare Post

Class 1, 2m 40y

The day is brought to a close with this flat race for colts and geldings that is run under Irish National Hunt rules. It takes place over two miles and forty yards, promising in the region of €17,500 to the winner. Open to horses aged between four and seven and sponsored by the Kildare Post at the time of writing, it lasts for about four minutes on Good to Soft ground.

 

Day Four Races - Champion Hurdle Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
KFM Hunters Chase For The Bishopscourt Cup   2m 4f €9,240 4YO plus
EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase Grade A 2m 5f €59,000 5YO plus
Hanlon Concrete Irish EBF Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase Grade B 2m 5f €44,250 4YO plus
BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle Grade 1 2m €176,999 4YO plus
Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f €59,000 4YO plus
Star Best For Racing Coverage Champion Hunters Chase   3m 120y €18,450 4YO plus
SalesSense International Novice Hurdle   2m €15,375 4YO plus
GVA Donal O'Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race   2m 2f €9,240 5YO to 7YO

KFM Hunters Chase For The Bishopscourt Cup

2m 4f

Not only are horses competing for the €15,000 in prize money with this race but also for the honour of holding the Bishopcourt Cup. It’s run over two miles and four furlongs and is open to horses aged four and over. They’ll need to jump fourteen fences if they hope to win the race, which takes about five and a half minutes to complete when the Going is Good to Soft.

EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase

Grade A, 2m 5f

A steeplechase for novices, this event is open to horses aged five and over. The handicapper decides how much weight each horse will carry according to their ability, with this being a Grade A race. Run over two miles and five furlongs and featuring fifteen fences for the horses to get over before hitting the final stretch, there’s €100,000 in prize money available.

Hanlon Concrete Irish EBF Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Handicap Chase

Grade B, 2m 5f

Sponsored by Hanlon Concrete at the time of writing and run in association with the Irish European Breeders’ Fund, this handicap chase is for mares aged four and over. It’s a Grade B event that takes place over two miles and five furlongs, with the female horses needing to jump fifteen fences if they hope to be on the receiving end of the €75,000 in prize money.

BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Grade 1, 2m

Currently bearing the name of Betdaq because of sponsorship, the Punchestown Champion Hurdle was introduced in its current form in 1999 and back then was sponsored by Shell. The likes of Emo Oil, ACCBank and the Racing Post have all had stints at sponsoring it over the years, too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, horses that were competitive in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham are often brought over to compete in this, with Faugheen winning both in 2015.

The race hasn't always been open to horses as young as four, with the restriction originally put forward for horses aged five and over. It was lowered to welcome four-year-olds in 2009 and that has remained the case ever since. Run right-handed over two miles, the event has nine hurdles for the competitors to get over if they want to win it. The following weight information is at play:

  • 4-year-olds: 11 stone 4 pounds
  • 5-year-olds and over: 11 stone 12 pounds
  • Fillies and mares are given an allowance of 7 pounds

The race's most successful horse is unquestionably Hurricane Fly, who won it four times in succession between 2010 and 2013. Ruby Walsh was on the back for three of those wins, also winning the race on another three occasions to have six victories to his name and be the race's most successful jockey. Willie Mullins was the trainer for all four, meanwhile, and has won the race four more times in addition to have eight wins to date.

Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle

Grade 1, 2m 4f

When it comes to races with many sponsors, few can come close to how many the Champion Novice Hurdle have had in a relatively short space of time. The likes of Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Land Rover, Swordlestown Stud and Tattersall's Ireland have all had their names attached to this even at one point or another, with Alanna Homes taking over the honour in 2019. Impressive for a race that's records only date back to 1995!

Companies sponsoring the event isn't as interesting a topic as jockeys and trainers winning it, of course, and on that front it's two names that we're growing board of reading that have the honour. Ruby Walsh won the race eight times as a jockey between 2002 and 2015, with Nicanor the only horse he won on that wasn't trained by Willie Mullins. Mullins has nine wins of his own to his name, whilst Paddy Mullins and Tom Mullins have also trained winners in this race.

Run right-handed over two miles and four furlongs, the race is for novices aged four and up. Four-year-olds have a weight of eleven stone one pound, five-year-olds and over get eleven stone ten pounds and fillies and mares are given an allowance of seven pounds. The race features twelve hurdles during its running. Horses that performed in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle often take part in this, such as Mikael d'Haguenet who won both in 2009.

Star Best For Racing Coverage Champion Hunters Chase

3m 120y

This race is one of the longest of the day, run as it is over three miles and one hundred and twenty yards. The winner gets to take home €30,000 in prize money, with horses aged four and over welcome to take part. There are seventeen fences to be jumped, with the race usually lasting for about six and a half minutes when the Going is Good to Soft.

SalesSense International Novice Hurdle

2m

An event for novice hurdles aged four and over, this race is currently sponsored by SalesSense International. It’s run over two miles, which helps to explain why it reaches its conclusion after about four minutes when the Going is Good to Soft. The prize money on offer for the winner is €25,000 and there are nine hurdles to be jumped during the race.

GVA Donal O'Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race

2m 2f

The penultimate day of the Festival is brought to a close with another flat race that is run under Irish National Hunt conditions. It’s for horses aged between five and seven and takes place over two miles and two furlongs. If the Going is Good to Soft then you can expect the event to last about four minutes and twenty seconds, with the winner taking home €15,000.

 

Day Five Races - Festival Family Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chase   3m 1f €9,240 5YO plus
Boylesports Handicap Chase   3m 7f €29,500 5YO plus
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f €59,000 4YO plus
AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle Grade 1 2m €59,000 4YO only
Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase Grade B 3m 120y €35,400 5YO plus
Ballymore Handicap Hurdle Grade B 2m 4f €59,000 4YO plus
K Club Hotel & Resort (Pro/Am) Flat Race Class 1 2m €9,240 4YO to 7YO
30th Running Punchestown Charity Race   1m 7f €70 4YO plus

Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chase

3m 1f

Sponsored by Dooley Insurance Group at the time of writing, this cross country event is run over three miles and one furlong. It’s for horses aged five and over and there are twenty-eight obstacles for them to get over before hitting the final stretch. It lasts for about seven minutes when the Going is Good to Firm, with €15,000 in prize money on offer to the winner.

Boylesports Handicap Chase

3m 7f

Currently sponsored by the Irish bookmaker BoyleSports, this steeplechase is for horses aged five and over with a rating of between 0 and 145. As with other handicap events, the handicapper will use the horses’ ratings to decide how much weight they will carry over the three miles and seven furlongs of the race, which features twenty-two fences.

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle

Grade 1, 2m 4f

Open to mares aged four and up, the EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle is run over two miles and four furlongs and contains twelve hurdles during that distance. It was inaugurated in 2004 and given Grade 3 status two years later. It was then fast-tracked to become a Grade 1 race, with that status being awarded to it in 2013. Initially run over a distance of two miles and two furlongs, it had the extra two furlongs added to its distance in 2017.

Two horses have won the race twice, with its namesake Annie Power doing so in 2014 and 2015 and then Benie Des Dieux repeating the trick in 2018 and 2019. Davy Russell and Ruby Walsh have three wins apiece to their names, though for once it's not Walsh who is the event's most successful jockey. That honour goes to Paul Townend, who has been on the back of the winning horse five times at the time of writing.

If things take a turn for the unexpected in terms of the race's most successful jockey then it's back to business as usual when it comes to the trainer that has won it more than any other. Gordon Elliott can be proud of his two wins to date, but it's Willie Mullins who once again has taken to the winners' podium more than any other trainer. He won the event for the first time in 2010 with Tarla, going on to witness six more winners up to 2019, including both Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux.

AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle

Grade 1, 2m

Limited to four-year-olds with a weight of eleven stone, though fillies get a seven pound allowance, this race is run right-handed over two miles and offers nine hurdles fo the participants to deal with. The event often welcomes horses that took part in the Cheltenham Festival's Triumph Hurdles, with Katarino being one such example who won the pair of the races in 1999.

If you were to take a bet on the names of the race's most successful jockey and most successful trainer then who would you say? If you opted for anyone other than Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins then you've lost your money. Bryan Cooper, Charlie Swann and Mick Fitzgerald have all ridden winners in it more than once, to name but a few of the jockeys who have done so, but they can't come close to Walsh's five wins between 2001 and 2017.

Likewise names such as Aidan O'Brien, Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger and Jonjo O'Neill have all trained several winners of the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle, with Nicky Henderson and Paddy Mullins both training four winners apiece. Yet it's that man Willie Mullins who is well out in front, having seen the likes of Apple's Jade, Holy Orders and Bapaume amongst his eight winners between 2001 and 2018.

Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase

Grade B, 3m 120y

Sponsored by Palmerstown House and named in honour of Pat Taafe, this steeplechase is another in which the services of the handicapper are required. This time they’ll be assigning weights to the horses aged five and over with a rating of between 0 and 150 that take part in the event. It’s run over three miles and one hundred and twenty yards, with seventeen fences to jump.

Ballymore Handicap Hurdle

Grade B, 2m 4f

The Ballymore Handicap Hurdle is run over two miles and four furlongs, featuring eleven hurdles during that distance. Open to horses aged four and over, the Grade B race promises the winner €100,000 in prize money. If the Going is Good to Soft then you can expect the race to last for in the region of four minutes and fifty seconds.

K Club Hotel & Resort (Pro/Am) Flat Race

Class 1, 2m

The Punchestown Festival is drawn to a close with this flat race that is run under Irish National Hunt conditions. It’s for horses aged between four and seven, giving them a chance to experience a jump racing course on a big day. Run over two miles, there’s €15,000 on offer for the winner and the race lasts for about three minutes and fifty seconds when the Going is Good to Soft.

30th Running Punchestown Charity Race

1m 7f

The very last race of the Punchestown Festival is a charity event that is run over one mile and seven furlongs. When the ground is Yielding and Good to Yielding in places, you can expect the event to last for about three minutes and forty seconds, give or take. Open to horses aged four and over, the prize money for the event is low because of its charity nature.

 

About the Punchestown Festival

Punchestown Racecourse

Offering thirty-nine races across five days, the Punchestown Festival is Ireland's way of bidding goodbye to the jump racing season. With a total prize pot of around £3 million and twelve Grade 1 races, it's little wonder that the meeting is one of the most anticipated on the Irish racing calendar.

As you'd expect from the Irish, it isn't just the racing that earns plaudits every year. Punchestown Racecourse is also used to celebrate food, drink and music over the course of the week. It's the racing that takes centre stage, of course, with each day offering numerous different events that are both eye-catching and thrilling to watch.

Five Days of Top-Class Racing

As if thirty-nine races across the course of a five day meeting isn't enough to capture the imagination, the fact that each day promises at least two Grade 1 outings means that it's even more thrilling for those in attendance or lucky enough to be watching.

The best way to give you a real sense of the top-class racing that takes place during the Punchestown Festival is to have a look at the race cards from the five days. The following are the races that were run on each day in 2019 to give you a flavour of what to expect:

Champion Chase Day

The most prestigious race on the first day of the Punchestown Festival is the one that the day itself is named after: the Champion Chase. Don't let that fool you into thinking that it's the only race worth watching, however. As you'll see from the 2019 race card, there are many thrilling races that you'll want to think about when considering your betting slip.

Punchestown Gold Cup Day

The brilliant racing continues to come thick and fast on the second day of the Festival, with the Punchestown Gold Cup being the headline generator. Once again, though, it sits in the middle of some excellent racing that promises those watching plenty of opportunities to enjoy the thrill of the day.

Champion Stayers Hurdle Day

When a day is named after a particular race you know that it's going to be one worth watching. As with the two previous days, though, don't let that distract you from the fact that there are a number of other excellent races worth keeping an eye on. With eight races in total to offer, the third day of the Festival is a feast for the eyes.

Champion Hurdle Day

All of the best Festivals have a Champion Hurdle Day and the one held at Punchestown is no exception. It's a day filled with race after race that will get the blood pumping and give you chances to place a bet or two. The Champion Hurdle is the key race of the day but there are more than a few others you'll be wanting to watch.

Festival Family Day

The Festival comes to a close with a day that is, as the name suggests, suitable for all of the family. There are numerous different activities and things for younger racing fans to be getting up to off the track, teaching them about racing and the importance of its place in the community.