sport

Champion clash at Punchestown

The first four home from the Queen Mother Champion Chase are all entered in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown on April 24.

Finian's Rainbow, Sizing Europe, Big Zeb and Gauvain are engaged as well as Kauto Stone and Wishfull Thinking, who will be looking to make amends after falling in the two-mile feature at Cheltenham.

Sizing Europe could be counted an unlucky loser at Prestbury Park following the controversial dolling off of the final fence and his trainer Henry de Bromhead is hoping for Punchestown compensation.

He said: "Sizing Europe has been entered in the Champion Chase and he seems really well after Cheltenham and is in good order.

"Although things didn't pan out for him at Cheltenham, I thought he ran a blinder."

Sir Des Champs heads a superb 24-strong entry for the Growise Champion Novice Chase over three miles and a furlong on the same Tuesday card.

Eddie O'Leary, racing manger for owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: "It's been so far so good so let's hope he stays sound for Punchestown."

Other entries include Flemenstar and Silviniaco Conti.

Gigginstown could also be well represented in the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, with Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Trifolium and Midnight Game, who disappointed in the same Cheltenham race, in the reckoning.

O'Leary said: "Trifolium ran a super race at Cheltenham and he's entitled to improve, he's still a young horse.

"Midnight Game didn't run his race at Cheltenham, where some of Willie's (Mullins) were right and some were wrong. He didn't scope well after the race but hopefully he's OK now and the better the ground, the better he will be."

Darlan and Steps To Freedom are other interesting contenders for the same race.

The longer Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle takes place on the following day, with Fingal Bay, Cotton Mill and Boston Bob among the possibles.

Another interesting entry is Richard Lee's Knock A Hand, unbeaten in four starts over hurdles.

Lee said: "He is a horse I hold in very high regard. He is very tenacious and durable - he has a fantastic attitude.

"When young horses come into the yard you think they could be this and that, but this horse doesn't actually show you that much at home and it's very nice when they turn out better than you thought they were.

"Knock A Hand has got several options at this stage and the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle is certainly one of them.

"The ground at Cheltenham wasn't soft enough for him, that's why he didn't take up any of his engagements there. He is set for chasing next year and whatever he does over hurdles is a bonus."