Sir Des Champs (left) and Long Run (right) running in the Gold CupPICTURE: Getty Images
Big guns back for Punchestown clash
SIR DES CHAMPS and Long Run, second and third to Bobs Worth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, bid for big-race glory at Punchestown on Wednesday with connections of both horses anticipating big runs.
Trained by Willie Mullins, Sir Des Champs looks set to start favourite for the Bet Online With TheTote.com Punchestown Gold Cup, for which he is a 2-1 chance.
He was seven lengths behind Bobs Worth at Cheltenham, but hacked up in the Grade 1 novice chase at Punchestown last year.
Mullins said: "I thought he ran a great race at Cheltenham and if he can do that again then you'd have to be very hopeful. He came out of Cheltenham well and we've been happy with his preparation for today's race. He has good form over the course and won a Grade 1 novice over the same distance at the festival a year ago and has shown himself adaptable in terms of ground, so we're looking forward to a big run."
Long Run, who will be ridden by his owner Robert Waley-Cohen's son Sam, was two and three-quarter lengths back in third in the Gold Cup.
Nicky Henderson, who saddled the mighty Sprinter Sacre to win Punchestown's feature on Tuesday, said: "I've been very pleased with Long Run since Cheltenham. He worked very well indeed at home last week and he has been bright and perky since he got here.
"Sam will do his own thing but if the race looks like being run at a dawdle I'm sure he wouldn't mind going on."
Long Run can be backed at 7-2 for the fourth race on day two of Punchestown's meeting which also features the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle and a Grade 1 bumper in which Briar Hill will bid to add to his success in Cheltenham Champion Bumper.