So after the twin peaks of the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals we reach the third leg of the Holy Trinity- Punchestown.
Noone does Festivals quite like the Irish and the hardest part of a wonderfully warm and friendly week in County Kildare is always trying to circle the endless extra curricula activity to which the English pilgrim is not only invited, but expected.
I did say, in jest, a couple of years ago, when news broke that the Punchestown Management, all of whom should have contracts with the Tourist Board, were looking for a new main sponsor for their final day, that they should approach Paracetamol- after all they give them a lot of business during the week- but if the stars all turn up, and fingers crossed the weather looks set to ensure they do- it will be a glittering five star week.
The opening race is named in memory of a much loved and much missed Parish Priest and great friend from nearby Ballymore Eustace, Father Sean Breen. He was unique, a cleric, racehorse owner (a terrific animal called One Won One carried his Colours- The Heavenly Syndicate!) and tipster who I once hear speak at Mass in race week about having a ‘silent collection’ – no coins!
For him, Punchestown week was like no other. It’s the same for many of us. It’ll end one week before the Guineas so a quick gear change will be needed.
Before then, though one burning question- just HOW many winners will Willie Mullins saddle at Punchestown ?
I expect a two digit answer.
Mike “Keep Your Halo Straight” Vince