Punchestown Gold Cup

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The Punchestown Gold Cup is a Grade 1 race over an extended three miles at the Punchestown Festival meeting in late April.

The Punchestown Gold Cup takes place on the 1st of May 2024.

The race was created in 1999 to attract Cheltenham Gold Cup horses and quickly became established as one of the top staying steeplechases in Ireland.

Notable past winners include Imperial Call (2010), Florida Pearl (2002), Kicking King (2005), Don Cossack (2015) and Sizing John (2017).

The Punchestown Gold Cup is the Irish equivalent of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and horses that have previously competed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup are normally entered in the Punchestown version. Sizing John was the last horse to win both races in the same year, in 2017.

For more information on the Punchestown Gold Cup such as tips, odds and previous winners, check out this full guide.

Find out more about the Punchestown Gold Cup:

Punchestown Gold Cup

The Punchestown Gold Cup – Race Overview

The Punchestown Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase held in Ireland for horses aged five and higher.

It is run at Punchestown over a distance of approximately 3 miles and 1/2 furlong, with seventeen obstacles to be jumped.

Each year, the race takes place in late April or early May during the Punchestown Festival.

Punchestown Gold Cup Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013Sir Des Champs7Davy RussellWillie Mullins
2014Boston Bob9Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2015Don Cossack8Paul CarberryGordon Elliott
2016Carlingford Lough10Barry GeraghtyJohn Kiely
2017Sizing John7Robbie PowerJessica Harrington
2018Bellshill8David MullinsWillie Mullins
2019Kemboy7Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
no race 2020 [b]
2021Clan des Obeaux9Sam Twiston-DaviesPaul Nicholls
2022Allaho8Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2023Fastorslow7JJ SlevinMartin Brassil

Famous Punchestown Gold Cup Winners

The Punchestown Gold Cup is widely regarded as the highlight of the Punchestown Festival meeting. It regularly attracts top-quality chasers who competed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the previous month.

The inaugural running in 1999 was won by Imperial Call who had won the Cheltenham showpiece three years earlier.

Willie Mullins won the race for the first time in 2002 with Florida Pearl, undoubtedly one of the best steeplechasers never to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He won half of his 32 career starts including a record four Irish Gold Cups between 1999 and 2004.

France won the race in 2003 with First Gold, trained by Francois Doumen. He had beaten Florida Peal in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park in 2000.

2004 winner Beef or Salmon was another high-class Irish chaser, claiming three Irish Gold Cup victories in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

Kicking King (2005) and War Of Attrition (2006) both followed up their Cheltenham Gold Cup victories in this race. Kicking King was also a dual King George VI Chase winner (2004, 2005) for Trainer Tom Taaffe and jockey Barry Geraghty.

Neptune Collonges became the first horse to win the race twice when successful for Paul Nicholls in 2007 and 2008. He went on the record the biggest success of his career in the 2012 Grand National and was promptly retired by connections.

Don Cossack won here in 2015 and won the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season for Gordon Elliott. Unfortunately, his career was curtailed through injury and he was retired to his owner’s Gigginstown House Stud.

Sizing John (2017) is the most recent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to take this valuable prize.

Key Punchestown Gold Cup Trials

Despite all of the links to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, this race has only been won three times in the past eleven seasons by horses who ran in chasing’s blue riband event last time out. That figure is matched by the Betway Bowl at Aintree, a double successfully completed by Clan Des Obeaux in 2021 after side-stepping the Cheltenham Festival.

Only four of the last eleven winners ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season. Don Cossack was the only one to succeed with the Willie Mullins trio of Boston Bob (2014), Bellshill (2018) and Kemboy (2019) all well beaten.

Four of the last eleven Punchestown Gold Cup favourites have been successful; Sir Des Champs (2013), Boston Bob (2014), Sizing John (2017) and Kemboy (2019). The latter at 13-8 favourite was the shortest-priced winner during that period.

There have been shock results here with Planet Of Sound (2010), Follow The Plan (2011) and China Rock (2012) returning at 14-1 and 20-1 twice respectively. Carlingford Lough was a 12-1 chance when scoring in 2016.

An official rating of 159 or higher has been required to win this race since 2013. Kemboy was rated 174 in 2019, just 1lb higher than Sir Des Champs in 2013.

Nine of the last eleven winners had raced at least twice at the track with eight of them having achieved at least one course victory.

The last eleven winners had all raced at least four times during the current season.

They had all won at least once at Grade 1 to 3 level.

The age range varies, although horses aged 7-9 seem to do best. Neptune Collonges (2007) was the youngest winner at the age of six while four ten-year-olds have won here, the most recent being Carlingford Lough in 2016.

Punchestown Gold Cup – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Willie Mullins predictably leads the trainer stats for the Punchestown Gold Cup with five victories; Florida Pearl (2002), Sir Des Champs (2013), Boston Bob (2014), Bellshill (2018) and Kemboy (2019).

Paul Nicholls is next best with three victories with Clan Des Obeaux (2021) adding to the two successes of Neptune Collonges (2007, 2008).

Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey in the history of the Punchestown Gold Cup with six winners; Imperial Call (1999), Commanche Court (2000), Neptune Collonges (2007, 2008), Boston Bob (2014) and Bellshill (2018). His last victory eclipsed the record of four winners set by weighing-room colleague Barry Geraghty.

Summary of the Punchestown Gold Cup

The Punchestown Gold Cup is the big one of the week.

It is the last clash of the best 3-mile chasers in the UK and Ireland, as expected it’s been dominated by the home team and more specifically Willie Mullins in recent years.

A race already steeped in history and one to saviour.

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