The 2021 Punchestown Festival gets underway on Tuesday week, the 27th of April with twelve Grade 1 races up for decision.
The John ‘Shark’ Hanlon trained mare Skyace has provided one of the great racing stories of the season.
Purchased for just £600, Skyace was fourth in the Mares Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham before going on to win the Grade 1 Mares Novice Hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.
Skyace now heads for the Grade 1 Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday week and her trainer says she just keeps on improving.
“I honestly do, I think she’s only getting into herself, I think she’s after improving again, she got five pounds (weight) there for Fairyhouse which she was entitled to get, she’s up in the 140s now, a lot of the other mares are 145, 146, but I’m happy enough going, I think that we are entitled to take it on, there’s a lot of prize money,” said Hanlon.
The 2021 Punchestown Festival brings the curtain down on the 2020/21 National Hunt season.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has been the leading trainer at Punchestown on several occasions and a few days ago, he spoke about some of his best memories at Punchestown.
“I suppose Florida Pearl stands out cause he was our first gold cup winner there and every trainer dreams of having one like that to go to Punchestown and win the gold cup, and so he was the first one,” said Willie.
“We weren’t as big are we are now, and that was probably really cherished, and then for Patrick to come in for the ride on Un De Sceaux and he was spectacular on the day, Un De Sceaux was, Patrick wasn’t too bad either, but that was hugely memorable, they were great days” he added.