Champagne Classic and Presenting Percy both step up in Grade but will have to improve to trouble Albert Bartlett winner Penhill
FESTIVAL hero Penhill takes on two other Cheltenham winners in Wednesday’s Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Penhill won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and represents Willie Mullins, who also saddles Bon Papa, Al Boum Photo and Tin Soldier.
BET £5 AND GET A FREE £10 BET WITH SUN BETS
The Gordon Elliott-trained Champagne Classic steps up in grade along with Patrick Kelly’s Presenting Percy, the pair both won handicaps at the Festival.
Penhill has won six of his eight starts over hurdles and Mullins feels stepping up to longer distances has helped him raise his game.
The six-year-old is owned by Tony Bloom who has just guided his club Brighton and Hove Albion – who he also owns – to the Premier League, and Bloom will be hoping Penhill can keep him on cloud nine.
Mullins said: “I think three miles is a help to him.
“He was a stayer on the Flat and is clearly the same over hurdles.”
Elliott admits Champagne Classic has more on his plate than he did at Cheltenham.
He told At The Races: “He’s too high in the handicap now and I’m not sure he’ll be up to Grade 1 class, but we’ll give him his chance and if he runs well I’ll be happy with that.
BANK ON CODD
Top Tipster Steve Mullen’s best racing selections for Tuesday, April 25 including the opening day of the Punchestown Festival
SIZING IT UP
Jessica Harrington hoping Sizing John can continue her incredible season at Punchestown
Gordon Elliott is hoping Labaik is in the right mood for the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle
Nicky Henderson admits he is wary of Paul Nicholls’ challenge for the title at Sandown
American sprinter Lady Aurelia will have her Royal Ascot prep run at Keeneland on Saturday
Paul Nicholls’ Vicente landed back-to-back renewals of the Scottish Grand National at Ayr
John Gosden’s Dabyah to have her Classic credentials tested in the Fred Darling Stakes
John Gosden’s talented Cracksman puts his reputation on the line in Epsom’s Investec Derby Trial
“I’d say the better ground was a big help to him at Cheltenham.”
Henry de Bromhead runs Monalee who was runner-up to Penhill at Cheltenham and de Bromhead expects another bold show.
“He’s in mighty form,” said De Bromhead.
“I was delighted with him at Cheltenham, for all that I obviously would have loved for him to have won, but it was a super run.
“Chasing will be his game next season.”
Noel Meade’s outsider Moulin A Vent completes the eight-strong field.