When is the Punchestown Festival? 2021 dates, race times and our experts’ tips

It's one of the biggest dates for your diary.


All good things must come to an end and we’re heading to Punchestown for the finale of the jump racing season in Ireland. With 12 mouthwatering Grade 1 races taking place over five days, the year is concluding with a bang.

Irish racing is on a high after utterly routing the home team at the Cheltenham Festival with the likes of Minella Indo, Appreciate It, Monkfish and Put The Kettle On stealing the show. Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead had a ding-dong battle for the Top Trainer title while Rachael Blackmore was proclaimed the Queen of Prestbury Park as she landed the Top Jockey prize. The De Bromhead x Blackmore dream team capped it off by winning the Grand National with Minella Times, leading an Irish 1-2-3-4-5 at Aintree.

But British trainers are out for revenge with a crack team including Clan Des Obeaux, Nube Negra, Epatante, Goshen and First Flow crossing the Irish Sea for a shot at Punchestown’s prizes.

It’s all shaping up to be a thrilling conclusion to the jumps season and Paddy Power News has the key dates for your diary so you don’t miss a second of the action.


The Punchestown Festival 2021 gets underway on Tuesday April 27 and concludes on Saturday May 1. The five-day meeting takes place at Punchestown Racecourse near Naas, County Kildare.





15.40 – Punchestown Novice Handicap Hurdle – 2m 100y

Mick Fitzgerald: “When you are looking at lower-grade horses, 10lbs make a huge difference. For that reason, I am going for the Joseph O’Brien-trained SCHOLASTIC.”

16.15 – Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 100y

Frank Hickey: “APPRECIATE IT will probably win so on the day I would maybe go ECHOES IN RAIN in the ‘Betting Without Appreciate It’ market.”

*Appreciate It has since not been declared for the Champion Novice Hurdle.

16.50 – Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) – 2m 100y

Mick Fitzgerald: “CHAMPAGNE GOLD was strongly fancied for the County Hurdle on the back of a very good second at the Dublin Racing Festival.”

17.25 – Champion Chase (Grade 1) – 2m

Ruby Walsh: “Back at this track, at this trip, I would be in the CHACUN POUR SOI camp but I know that Willie Mullins does want to give ALLAHO a crack at this trip to see if he is a champion chaser.”

Frank Hickey: “I am leaning towards CHACUN POUR SOI, as I think it was the stiffer finish at Cheltenham that found him out. He’s not a bad horse – only beaten a length in the Champion Chase – and Punchestown will be more his track.”

17.55 – Bumper – 2m 100y

Mick Fitzgerald: “This is a very valuable 2m bumper so there are a lots of unknowns in it, but leading Irish amateur Derek O’Connor is an interesting jockey booking for SPRINGWELL BAY for Margaret Mullins.”

18.30 – Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1)

Ruby Walsh: “This is the dream match-up of novice chasers this season and I think it will be fantastic. I will be shouting for MONKFISH, there’s no doubt about that.”

Frank Hickey: “MONKFISH deserves to be favourite because he is proven at the trip and he won at the Cheltenham Festival, while Envoi Allen had fallen. The latter is unproven at 3m, bar winning his point-to-point. However, I think ENVOI ALLEN will beat MONKFISH.”

19.00 – Cross Country Steeplechase – 3m 1f

Mick Fitzgerald: “YOUCANNOTBESERIOUS was second in this race 12 months ago to stablemate Blue Templar, but can go one better this year, despite not having raced since then.”

19.35 – Punchestown Flat Race – 2m 100y

Mick Fitzgerald: “TYRE KICKER represents Irish racing royalty and is owned by Janet Williamson, wife of former top jockey Norman Williamson.”


15.40 – Series Final Handicap Hurdle – 2m 5f

Ruby Walsh: “It’s a really tricky handicap hurdle where the Philip Fenton-trained STAND OFF looks set to run a big race. He only won by half a length at Fairyhouse but looked value for it.”

16.15 – Hurdle Series Final – 2m 4f

Ruby Walsh: “Peter Fahey has a couple of runners in this and BORN PATRIOT is my pick of them. He was a winner of a maiden hurdle at a big price (80/1) at this venue in November and has run creditably since at Thurles, Musselburgh and Navan.”

16.50 – Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle – 2m 4f

Mick Fitzgerald: “BLUE SARI was starting to show what we always thought he was capable of in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham before falling at the last.”

17.20 – Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m

Mick Fitzgerald: “The one that I like is GALOPIN DES CHAMPS. He travelled like a very good horse at the Festival when winning the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle and could have been thrown in at the weights after one bad run in the winter.”

17.55 – Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) – 3m 120y

Frank Hickey: “I’ll take a chance for AL BOUM PHOTO who was over five lengths behind Minella Indo in the Gold Cup. I think he was a little below his best there.”

18.30 – Champion I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 1) – 2m 70y

Frank Hickey: “SIR GERHARD did benefit from an excellent ride by Rachael in the Champion Bumper but he definitely has more natural pace.”

19.00 – Handicap Steeplechase (Grade A) – 2m 4f

Frank Hickey: “DUNVEGAN won at the Punchestown Festival in 2018 in a bumper and had been second in a bumper here to Hollowgraphic earlier that season. Three other course runs have seen him register a win and two places, so this track suits.”

19.35 – Mares Flat Race (Grade 3) – 2m 70y

Ruby Walsh: “A Grade 3 Mares’ bumper and Willie Mullins’ GRANGEE ran a blinder when sixth to Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit in the Cheltenham bumper. She was a good winner at Leopardstown beating Party Central who subsequently won at Fairyhouse. She’ll be hard to beat and is my best bet of the day.”


15.40 – Handicap Hurdle – 3m 40y

Ruby Walsh: “ENA BAIE’s among the top weights but Jordan Gainford takes 7lb off.”

16.15 – Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) – 2m

Ruby Walsh: “JUNGLE JUNCTION after a series of near misses got his head in front at Naas and then won well again at Fairyhouse for Jessie Harrington and Robbie Power. He could go in again for the hat-trick.”

16.50 – La Touche Cup Cross Country – 4m 2f

Ruby Walsh: “I haven’t a huge opinion on it, but it’s Enda Bolger’s record in this race that makes me lean towards STAND UP AND FIGHT.”

17.25 – Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m

Ruby Walsh: “This race gets a good field every year and it looks the same again. It’s a solid race with a tough field but I fancy FLOORING PORTER.”

Frank Hickey: “KLASSICAL DREAM is a big price and if he has been working well at home before this contest he could be an each-way play.”

18.00 – Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) – 3m

Ruby Walsh: “I’ll be shouting for PURE GENIUS for my dad, Ted, who won his maiden hurdle at this track in January and beat Bold Enough (who went on to finished third at Aintree) on his last start at Downpatrick.”

18.35 – Novice Steeplechase (Grade 1) – 2m

Ruby Walsh: “I’ve no reason to doubt that ENERGUMENE will win. It looks a great chance for him to end what has been a very good season – bar missing the Cheltenham Festival – in style.”

19.05 – Punchestown Mares Novice Hurdle – 2m 40y

Ruby Walsh: “MAGIC DAZE will be hard to beat.”

19.35 – Flat Race – 2m 40y

Ruby Walsh: “Patrick Mullins has gone for DYSART DYNAMO who beat More Than A Memory at Clonmel on debut. We really like him and was in good form when I watched him work last week.”


15.40 – Paddy Power Hunters Steeplechase for the Bishopscourt Cup – 2m 4f

16.15 – Novice Handicap Steeplechase (Grade A) – 2m 5f

16.50 – Mares Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) – 2m 5f

17.25 – Paddy Power Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m

Ruby Walsh: “HONEYSUCKLE sets the standard, it’ll be beautiful ground and I fancy her here. Everything will play into her hands, I don’t see where it turns around on her.”

Frank Hickey: “I’ll probably have an each-way bet on ASPIRE TOWER if he is 12/1 or over and will play him in the ‘Without Honeysuckle’ markets as well.”

18.00 – Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 4f

Ruby Walsh: “If the BOB OLINGER that won the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival turns up, this is a one-horse race.”

18.35 – Champion Hunters Steeplechase – 3m 120y

19.05 – International Novice Hurdle – 2m

19.35 – I.N.H. Flat Race – 2m 2f


14.15 – Cross Country Steeplechase – 3m 1f

14.50 – Punchestown Handicap Steeplechase – 3m 7f

15.20 – Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m 4f

Ruby Walsh: “CONCERTISTA’s the one, there’s no doubt about it. Burning Victory, Telmesomethinggirl and Stormy Ireland have looked good, but I don’t think they’ve got enough to top Concertista.”

Frank Hickey: “Concertista will go off favourite here but TELMESOMETHINGGIRL would be a big danger were she to run.”

16.00 – Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m

Ruby Walsh: “Haut En Couleurs ran a cracker at Cheltenham and looked really good there. If I had to pick one to be on here, it’d be ZANAHIYR.”

Frank Hickey: “HAUT EN COULEURS hadn’t run since October, so I thought it was a massive effort from him to be third in the Triumph Hurdle and he has a big chance of reversing the form now. His price looks fair enough at this stage.”

16.30 – Pat Taaffe Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) – 3m 120y

17.05 – Punchestown Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) – 2m 4f

17.40 – Punchestown Mares Handicap Hurdle – 2m 4f

18.10 – Punchestown (Pro Am) Flat Race – 2m

*Odds quoted on the widget that are Future Racing/Antepost prices means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules


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