Nicky Henderson’s 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run looks to add another Gold Cup to his tally at the Punchestown Festival today
With Sprinter Sacre making it a perfect ten out of ten over fences yesterday, Nicky Henderson will now look to his 2011 Cheltenham Gold winner to deliver the feature race on the second day of the Punchestown Festival. Long Run’s opposition will come from a crowd of Gigginstown runners led up the Cheltenham Gold Cup second Sir Des Champs.
Willie Mullins the trainer of Sir Des Champs will fancy his chances of a Grade One treble with the impressive Ballycasey in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle and with Briar Hill, the Cheltenham Festival victor in the Champion Bumper. Crockford fancies his chances with Ballycasey and Briar Hill but believes that the treble will be foiled by Long Run who has been lightly campaigned this season and has the quality on his day to beat any of his rivals.
Crockford believes that Rubi Light can defy top weight in the Guinness Handicap Chase (6.30) and land the prize. Call The Police (for Mullins) and Nadiya De La Vega (for Henderson) will both have their followers and will be fancied against the top weight, but Rubi Light has the class to defeat them.
Crockford’s gambles on day two of the Punchestown Festival 2013:
Happy New Year (3.40)
Gassin Golf (4.20)
Ballycasey (Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle 4.55)
Long Run (Punchestown Gold Cup 5.30)
Briar Hill (Champion Bumper 6.05)
Rubi Light e/w (6.40)
Beat That (7.15)
(Featured photograph – Briar Hill at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)