Punchestown: Odds-on Vautour second to God’s Own

God's Own and Paddy Brennan

God’s Own (centre) wins from superstars Vautour (left) and Simonsig

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

Report: Punchestown, Tuesday

BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1) 5yo+, 2m

AT AINTREE God’s Own took advantage of Vauour falling to land the Melling Chase, but at Punchestown he proved he has the beating of that rival, at least at two miles, with a finely judged win under Paddy Brennan.

A clash with Cue Card and Don Cossack over 3m1f had been mooted for Vautour, but with Un De Sceaux running at Sandown to bolster Mullins’ push for the British trainers’ title he was redirected to this contest.

He was sent off the 4-9 favourite but became the second Mullins/Walsh hotpot to get turned over on the opening day when unable to eat into God’s Own’s lead in the home straight – finishing two lengths behind the winner.

Simonsig ran a mighty race to finish third at 6-1 on his first chase run since March 2013, but the spoils went to the Tom George-trained 9-1 shot, who won his first Grade 1 over the course and distance as a novice in 2014 and took his top-tier tally to three in fine style.

God's Own and Paddy Brennan

Paddy Brennan celebrates beating Vautour for the third time, having won twice on God’s Own and once on Cue Card in the King George

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said George. “A lot of hard work has gone into this horse. He’s got a lot of character and a lot of credit must go to my staff.

“Many considered us lucky to win at Aintree but after that performance maybe we weren’t that lucky after all.

“He actually put on weight after Aintree and was so well we thought he’d either improve or that he might have gone over the top. We knew going right-handed today would be a big help-he’s probably probably 7lb or 8lb better going that way.”

Trip ‘too short’ for Vautour

On Vautour’s run Mullins said: “It looked to me as if the two mile trip was too short for him. I didn’t think it would be but after joining Special Tiara for the lead, he appeared to get caught for toe by the winner between the last two fences before staying on well towards the finish. It was either that or just an end of season thing.”

Henderson was far more positive about Simonsig. He said: “Simonsig has run a cracker but what do we do now? It’s been such a long road to get him back and he’s shown he still retains a lot of ability. We can’t stop now and will probably have to look at France for his next race. He’ll have to go somewhere.”

Bookmakers were impressed to varying degrees, with BetVictor going 25-1 for the 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase, while sponsors Betway and Paddy Power offered 16-1 for the Cheltenham race.


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