Tuesday 27th April 2021
Punchestown Festival 2021
Author: Jordan Yates
A warm welcome to what is my first written preview in a good while. In this particular post I’ll be taking a look at the highly anticpated big clash on day one of the Punchestown Festival between Monkfish and Envoi Allen in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase at 6.30.
The Willie Mullins trained Monkfish is a seven-year-old by Stowaway who has taken all before him this season, winning all four starts which culminated with a win at the Cheltenham Festival in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novice Chase. Prior to that success he won two Group 1’s at Leopardstown in comfortable fashion, which resulted in him being the shortest priced horse at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. He’s been installed as the favourite here by a very narrow margin at around a general 10/11.
Envoi Allen is also a seven-year-old and is now trained by Henry De Bromhead having previously been with Gordon Elliott. His only start for Henry resulted in his only defeat to date when unseating at the Cheltenham Festival last month when contesting the Grade 1 Marsh Novice Chase. Previously he’d won all of his starts in bumpers, hurdles and over fences where this season he took a Grade 1 of his own over the larger obstacles when winning the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse by over 8 lengths. The former Champion Bumper and Ballymore winner is currently trading at around a best price of 5/4 for this latest assignment.
To be honest, this one really is too close to call and it’s certainly not a race that I’ll be having a bet in. On all known form over fences you’d have to say that MONFKISH has the better form in the book so if I had to make a selection I’d go with him by the slimmest of margins. In terms of star quality, I still think that Envoi Allen probably has more of that about him than his rival from Closutton but on the flip side of that there is more question marks over this 3 mile trip with him than there is of Monkfish. All in all, it’s a fascniating contest. The mare Colreevy shouldn’t be underestimated also, she won the Mares Chase at Cheltenham when beating a smart stablemate and with the allowance she’s pretty much level on ratings with the big two here.