Punchestown Champion Chase tips and runner-by-runner guide as Energumene faces Chacun Pour Soi

Willie Mullins' big two slug it out on the first day of the Festival.

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Energumene, the runaway winner of last month’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, faces stablemate Chacun Pour Soi in the big race on the first day of the 2022 Punchestown Festival.

It was a stroll for Energuemene at Cheltenham as the race fell apart but the rematch at Punchestown is likely to be a hot affair as Chacun Pour Soi loves the track and was an impressive scorer in last year’s renewal from Allaho.

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A field of five will go to post for the 5.25pm at Punchestown on Tuesday with Andy Dufresne, Captain Guinness and Envoi Allen completing the line up.

You’ll find a guide to the runners and Punchestown Champion Chase tips from our horse racing experts below.

Punchestown Champion Chase runners

Andy Dufresne

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: M. P. Walsh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

High-class chaser. 10/3, good second of 16 in handicap chase at Cheltenham (15.9f, heavy) 41 days ago. This is a tougher assignment, but it’s still early days for him as a chaser and he could pick up some place money here.

Captain Guinness

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Davy Russell Age: 7 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Very smart chaser. Two wins from 6 runs last season. Below form 33½ lengths sixth of 10 to Fakir D’oudairies in Melling Chase (15/2) at Aintree (19.9f, good) 18 days ago. Looks up against it.

Chacun Pour Soi

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins Age: 10 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Top-class chaser. Decisive winner of this race last season. 8/1, unseated rider in Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham (15.9f, soft) 41 days ago, a race won by stablemate Energumene. Big player.

Energumene

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Top-class chaser. Didn’t need to be at best when winning 7-runner Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham (15.9f, soft, 5/2) 41 days ago by 8½ lengths from Funambule Sivola, kept up to work. The one to beat.

Envoi Allen

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

High-class chaser. Course winner. Two wins from 5 runs last season. Creditable 13 lengths third of 7 to Energumene in Queen Mother Champion Chase (10/1) at Cheltenham (15.9f, soft) 41 days ago. No reason to believe he’ll turn the tables on that rival here.

Punchestown Champion Chase tips

Mick Fitzgerald: The reigning Champion Chaser ENERGUMENE looks hard to oppose as was very impressive at Cheltenham – even if Shishkin had an off day. Followers of his stablemate Chacun Pour Soi (who unseated Patrick Mullins at Cheltenham in the Champion Chase) will feel they have a chance on home soil as he performs much better In Ireland than when travelling to the UK.

Frank Hickey: Chacun Pour Soi was an impressive winner of this last year but I think that he will have his hands full with ENERGUMENE. His only defeat was that narrow 2nd to Shishkin in the Clarence House and while the Champion Chase fell apart a bit as a race, he couldn’t have won any easier.

Timeform: This is likely to boil down to a shootout between the Willie Mullins-trained duo, CHACUN POUR SOI and Energumene. It’s no surprise that Paul Townend sticks with the up-and-coming Energumene following his Champion Chase victory at Cheltenham but preference is for his stablemate, who was bowling along nicely when unseating five-out in that race. Chacun Pour Soi landed this contest 12 months ago and has been beaten just once from nine starts over fences in Ireland. Andy Dufresne is third choice.

Ruby Walsh: Chacun Pour Soi has been good here before and was running well at Cheltenham before unseating Patrick Mullins. ENERGUMENE’s superior stamina will be the key in this race as Chacun Pour Soi won’t be able to match it.

Punchestown Day 1 Tips

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