Tuesday could be a big day for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore at Punchestown, as they take will be represented by their two Cheltenham heroes Captain Guinness and Slade Steel.

The former bagged a first Grade 1 of a hugely consistent career in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and heads the nine runners declared for the William Hill Champion Chase at Punchestown.

Cheltenham runner-up Gentleman De Mee is one of four Willie Mullins contenders with Cheltenham Mares’ Chase runner-up Dinoblue also a notable entry, stepping back to two miles.

Banbridge is an intriguing contender from the Joseph O’Brien yard, also dropping back in trip, while another de Bromhead charge Maskada, who beat Dinoblue when winning the Grand Annual Chase in 2023, is chasing top-tier blacktype on her final racecourse appearance.

“We’re delighted with him,” said de Bromhead of Captain Guinness. “We always felt he deserved to win a Grade 1 and the fact it was the Champion Chase was an added bonus.

“Maskada will run too. She is being covered so I’d say it’s her last run. So we’ll give it a go and see if she can get some Grade 1 black type.”

Novice hurdle

The KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle could be one of the races of the week as Slade Steel looks to confirm form with Willie Mullins’ subsequent Aintree victor Mystical Power, the Gordon Elliott-trained Firefox, who chased Mystical Power home in Liverpool, and another Closutton resident, Asian Master, who gave young amateur rider Tom Costello a dream run when fourth in the Supreme.

“Slade Steel is in really good form since Cheltenham,” declared de Bromhead. “We’re very happy with him.

“The Cheltenham form stood up at Aintree and you had Ayr as well, where Favour And Fortune (who finished sixth in the Supreme) won the Scottish Champion Hurdle. We’re looking forward to Punchestown with him.”

Novice chase

Jimmy Mangan is preparing to take on the big guns once more after he declared Spillane’s Tower among a field of eight to participate in a mouth-watering Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Chase.

The Walk In The Park gelding delivered at Grade 1 level when finishing strongly to claim the WillowWarm Gold Cup at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, bridging a gap at the elite level of 16 years for Mangan, when Conna Castle won the same race.

The mastermind behind Monty Pass’s Grand National success in 2003 is excited about having a top-class performer in the yard for owner J.P. McManus but is hoping for some rain for the potential superstar.

“He’s only six and his future is ahead of him,” Mangan cautions.

“We went back to two miles and he’s just not effective on two. He’s definitely effective on two and half and we seem to think he’ll get three. We’ll find it out.

“They always do a good job on the ground in Punchestown but there’s been a lot of drying and we would want a bit of soft in the ground to take our chance but he’s ready to go if we get that. It’s great to be going up there with a good horse.”

Brown Advisory Chase runner-up Monty’s Star will represent the Cheltenham form for trainer Henry de Bromhead and owner Barry Moloney.

“He seems in good form,” said de Bromhead earlier this week. “We’re happy with him. It is a tough race in Cheltenham over three miles and you always have the fear of that after but we’ll give it a go and see. But he seems very well.”

Gordon Elliott saddles American Mike, Salvador Ziggy and Three Card Brag, with Sharjah and Embassy Gardens representing newly crowned British champion trainer Willie Mullins and Sandor Clegane given his chance by Paul Nolan.

The programme for the first of five days of scintillating action features an trio of glittering Grade 1 contests, as well as the €80,000 final of the Full Circle Series.

The Full Circle Series final has attracted a full field of 25, with seven British-trained contestants including three Tom Lacey horses. Venetia Williams, Charlie Longsdon, Ben Pauling and Anthony Honeyball, seeking victory at a fourth consecutive Punchestown Festival, will also be represented.

The cross-channel representation extends to the Listed Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle, in which Pauling and Longsdon will also saddle runners, with Harry Derham responsible for the top weight and former Derby aspirant, Brentford Hope.