Ballynagour primed for Punchestown trip

David Pipe is targeting the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup with Ballynagour following his tremendous effort in defeat at Aintree last week.

Off the track since being pulled up in the Hennessy at Newbury last November, Ballynagour pushed Silviniaco Conti all the way in the Betfred Bowl on Merseyside and having had such a light campaign, Pipe is keen to send him to Ireland at the end of the month.

He said: “It was a fantastic run the other day. Ballynagour came out of Liverpool well and we are definitely thinking of a trip to Punchestown.

“The horse has had a light season and he’s not the easiest to get right so we’d like to go to Ireland. We always enjoy visiting Punchestown.”

Ballynagour is one of 25 entries for the €200,000 Grade One on April 29 and one of seven possible British raiders.

Silviniaco Conti is on the list for Paul Nicholls, but stable companion Al Ferof appears the more likely runner for the Ditcheat team.

Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card, Jonjo O’Neill’s Holywell, the Philip Hobbs-trained Menorah and David Bridgwater’s stable star The Giant Bolster are also potential travellers.

“The Giant Bolster is very likely to come over for the Punchestown Gold Cup,” said Bridgwater.

“The trip to Ireland will be something different as he has never done that before and it might perk him up a bit. It will be interesting to see how he gets on and I am looking forward to it.”

Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins is unsurprisingly well represented , with Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam and RSA Chase winner Don Poli among six possible runners.

Gold Cup third Road To Riches, trained by Noel Meade, is also on the list, along with Tony Martin’s Flemenstar.

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