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Nube Negra worth a punt at 5/1 in the first big race of the Punchestown Festival
Johnny Ward takes you through Tuesday’s feature race, the William Hill Champion Chase.

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

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

Here’s what to look forward to in the big one on Tuesday. 

William Hill Champion Chase, 5.25pm Tuesday (live on RTÉ2)

kempton-park-sunday-december-27 PA Harry Skelton and Nube Negra. PA

Tuesday’s William Hill Champion Chase might just be the race of the week at Punchestown. If not, it is certainly close.

Chacun Pour Soi, vanquished at Cheltenham to punters’ considerable cost, is on a mission of atonement. Yet, not only does he have to reverse that form with Nube Negra — he arguably faces a bigger challenge in beating his own stablemate, Allaho.

If there is one disappointing aspect to the event, it is that there are only two places for those betting each-way, rather than three. That is a minor gripe, and Nube Negra looks the value at 5/1 with Hills.

Perhaps Chacun Pour Soi will fashion a change in that Cheltenham form with Dan Skelton’s charge but that looks far from guaranteed. The hill patently did not suit Willie Mullins’ hotpot, as many suspected may be the case, but he has a length to find with Nube Negra, who was going away from him at the line.

Furthermore, Nube Negra was a small bit keen in a race that was not strongly run by the standards of a Champion Chase.

Yet, despite this and stumbling at the last, he sprinted past Chacun Pour Soi, and it seems that he is simply an improved horse this season.

The same can certainly be said for Allaho. He had lost three races on the bounce, two of them by big margins, before getting his act together at Thurles and proving quite sensational in the Ryanair — form that has worked out well.

This is a pretty sharp two miles and, given that he almost stays three, I do wonder will he quite have the pace to get away with it.

Moreover, he is zero from two at Punchestown and tends to jump left at times, so there are doubts. At the prices, there looks to be one bet for me.

Johnny’s tip:

Nube Negra to win @ 5/1

And here are AP McCoy’s thoughts: 

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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