Tuesday sees the beginning of the Punchestown Festival and a fascinating head-to-head is in store as the recent Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase winner Monkfish is set to take on Henry de Bromhead’s Envoi Allen in County Kildare.
Willie Mullins’ Monkfish is yet to be beaten over fences and has secured three Grade 1’s to date, including his success at the Cheltenham Festival last month, as he heads the betting for the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novices’ Chase.
Envoi Allen, meanwhile, saw his long-running undefeated reign come to a crashing end when he fell in the Marsh in Gloucestershire, snapping his 13-run win streak on his first appearance for new handler, De Bromhead.
Closutton chief Mullins will be responsible for 75% of the four-runner field, also saddling Mares’ Chase heroine Colreevy and Franco De Port.
Paul Townend, who potentially feared missing the five-day event through injury, has unsurprisingly opted to ride the Susanna Ricci owned gelding.
Rachael Blackmore, on the other hand, will steer Envoi Allen for the first time instead of usual pilot Jack Kennedy.
“He seems to be in great order and worked really well the other day. I’ve been delighted with him.
“It’s going to be fascinating to see him running over three miles for the first time and that will tell us a lot with regard to next year and what sort of route we might take for that campaign.”