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No Ruby, but Kemboy can clinch it again: Punchestown Gold Cup preview
Johnny Ward previews a race that was last won by Ruby Walsh on his final ride.

AFTER ITS POSTPONEMENT 12 months ago, the Punchestown Festival has made a welcome return to the racing calendar this week. 

Each day, racing journalist Johnny Ward brings you a preview of the feature race and his best tip — along with William Hill’s latest prices.

Below, you can read his thoughts on Wednesday’s Gold Cup… 

ruby-walsh-onboard-kemboy-comes-home-to-win-ahead-of-paul-townend-onboard-al-boum-photo Tommy Dickson / INPHO Kemboy and Ruby Walsh win ahead of Al Boum Photo, ridden by Paul Townend, in the 2019 Punchestown Gold Cup. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Punchestown Gold Cup, 5.55pm Wednesday (live on RTÉ2)

The late scratch of the injured Minella Indo is an undoubted blow to the Punchestown Gold Cup (5.55), the day-two feature, with six left to compete after the loss of this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.

It is a rather odd scenario that just two horses who ran in the big one at Cheltenham come here, and one of them was tailed off, Kemboy. His stable buddy Al Boum Photo, who was a couple of lengths behind him in the last renewal of this two years ago, becomes the clear form choice on his Gold Cup third, but he is clearly vulnerable too.

This is still a fantastic race, with Clan Des Obeaux making his Punchestown debut. His Cheltenham record is so bad Paul Nicholls didn’t even bother tackling the Gold Cup but he seemed as good as ever at Aintree: confidence is evidently high.

He was not the only impressive Liverpool winner togging out again here: Fakir D’oudairies was an 11-length winner then, but it is still hard to know about how three miles suits him. It’s certainly well worth another go.

William Hill makes Kemboy a 10/3 chance and that gets the vote. We all recall his win in this a couple of years ago (no fixture 12 months back) because of its immortality: it was Ruby Walsh’s final ride. 

As he showed when slaying the Gold Cup holder Al Boum Photo then, he is a formidable force in small-field Irish races — when he can often have it relatively easy up front.  

On his most recent Irish start, he beat Minella Indo easily at Punchestown, and the dry ground will suit him very much here. He is a necessarily tentative selection in a pretty tricky if mouthwatering renewal. Only Melon and Easy Game, another third of the runners trained by Willie Mullins, can be safely taken on.

Johnny’s tip: 

Kemboy to win @ 10/3

Odds above correct at the time of writing. For all the latest prices, visit williamhill.com. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see gamblingtherapy.org 

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