*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
Monkfish vs Envoi Allen promises to be a blockbuster showdown between the slickest novice chasers in the game. It’s a dream match-up to conclude the campaign and the winner will have the edge going into next season.
Before we take a look at who Paddy Power’s expert pundits are siding with, let’s take a look at the four-runner field for the 3m ½f Champion Novice Chase at the 2021 Punchestown Festival.
Jockey: Paul Townend
The favourite in Paddy Power’s betting market for the Champion Novice Chase and a two-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
Monkfish blitzed the field at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February and made it four wins from four over fences when delivering an unconvincing performance in last month’s Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
The 4/1 antepost favourite for next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Monkfish could provide promise for his early backers if he gets the job done today.
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
The only horse in the four-strong field not trained by Willie Mullins. Henry de Bromhead’s yard is on fire after completing the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup treble at the Cheltenham Festival and saddling the first two in the Grand National.
Envoi Allen was transferred to Knockeen by Cheveley Park Stud in early March and the only blot on the seven-year-old’s copybook came on his one and only start for De Bromhead.
The Champion Novice Chase will be Envoi Allen’s second outing at Punchestown and it represents a step up in trip having never run further than 2m 5f in his career.
Jockey: Danny Mullins
Could the mare with eight wins from 14 under Rules upset the odds? Colreevy is a class performer and heads into her final race with four wins in a row including the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old is unbeaten in three starts at Punchestown including the Grade 1 I.N.H Flat Race – beating Abacadabras by 1l – at the end-of-season Festival in 2019.
Colreevy is being retired after the Champion Novice Chase and what a way to sign off her racing career it would be if she could get the better of Monkfish and Envoi Allen.
Jockey: B J Cooper
The outsider and the last of Willie Mullins’ runners, Franco De Port has had a mixed campaign.
A win in a beginners chase at Thurles was followed up with victory in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. The six-year-old then suffered a 10l defeat to Energumene at the Dublin Racing Festival before finishing last of five in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.
Franco De Port placed second over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse earlier this month and steps up in trip to 3m+ for the first time in the Champion Novice Chase, with Mullins thinking he has a future staying chaser on his hands.
Monkfish vs Envoi Allen Tips From Paddy Power Pundits
Mick Fitzgerald: “Monkfish looked the real deal when winning at the Dublin Racing Festival before Cheltenham and may have him marked down as a future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. He looked below par at Cheltenham though, so I’m siding with ENVOI ALLEN who blotted his copybook at the Festival when falling for the first time and losing his unbeaten record.
“Rachael Blackmore rides him for the first time now and that is not the perfect scenario. The owners were hoping Davy Russell would be back from injury having missed the ride at Cheltenham as Davy knows him so well. In a small field, Envoi Allen will be Monkfish’s shadow and can do him for speed on the run to the line on this quicker ground. If it rains and the ground changes, Monkfish could well be a different proposition.”
Frank Hickey: “Monkfish deserves to be favourite, as he has no stamina concerns and is four from four over fences. However, he was a little underwhelming at Cheltenham, despite winning the Brown Advisory Novices Chase.
“ENVOI ALLEN obviously fell at Cheltenham and has his stamina to prove over three miles, but I do think he is top class and only ever does enough to win.
“Tactics will be very interesting and Monkfish may try to make this a test of stamina but Envoi Allen might just go by him, between the final two fences.”
Ruby Walsh: “Monkfish is an assured stayer and he’s won over three miles a couple of times. Envoi Allen would look to be faster.
“Monkfish should win a stamina test but Envoi Allen could kick away off a slower pace.”
- DON’T MISS OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN CHECK OUT ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
Read More On The Punchestown Festival
- Everything you need to know about the 2021 Punchestown Festival
- Timeform’s 5 to keep the dream alive at Punchestown
- Ruby Walsh previews Monkfish vs Envoi Allen dream match-up
- Ruby Walsh’s best antepost bets for the Punchestown Festival