Des Champs Set for Punchestown Return

According to the horse racing news, The tremendously exciting chaser, Sir Des Champs, unbeaten in all eight National Hunt outings and the current 6/1 ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, could be set to make his seasonal reappearance in December’s Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, writes Elliot Slater.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old carried all before him last term as he made a successful transition from hurdles to fences, having triumphed at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival when carrying off the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle under his trainer’s son, Emmett, in the process landing a massive gamble on the day of the race.

It was clear from his first outing over fences that the Gigginstown Stud-owned gelding was going to be an even better chaser, his impressive winning chasing bow at Fairyhouse getting tongues wagging straight away.

Victory in Grade 2 company at Limerick on Boxing Day only served to enhance that opinion, which was further strengthened when the son of Robin Des Champs hacked up again at the same level at Leopardstown in January.

At the Cheltenham Festival, Sir Des Champs was sent off a well-backed 3/1 shot for the Grade 2 Jewson Novices Chase and duly obliged in style, coming with a tremendous run from the second last to cut down Champion Court and win going away by over four lengths under Ruby Walsh.

Stepping up to an extended three miles at the Punchestown Festival a month later, Mullins’ rising star had the race in his pocket when nearly unseating his rider at the last. However, he still came home a stunning 36 lengths clear of the runner-up, Shop DJ, to place himself at the head of the ante-post list for this year’s blue riband chasing contest.

All eyes will be on the John Durkan Chase to see if Sir Des Champs remains in the same kind of form or, ominously for his potential rivals, has improved again.

Click here for more on December’s feature contest, the King George VI Chase:

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