Energumene Secures William Hill Champion Chase Victory at Punchestown
Brighton owner Tony Bloom had something to celebrate following the heartbreak of his team’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester United as Energumene secured a hard-fought victory in the William Hill Champion Chase at Punchestown. The nine-year-old horse, who previously won the Cheltenham Champion Chase, claimed the spoils at Punchestown, becoming a two-time winner of the race.
Gritty Display from Energumene
Energumene, trained by Willie Mullins, was the favourite to win, but it was not an easy victory. He fell behind stablemate Chacun Pour Soi at the last fence, but the horse dug deep and fought back to eventually prevail by three-quarters of a length. Despite making a number of errors and facing stiff competition from Magic Daze and Rachael Blackmore, Energumene demonstrated his heart and ability to secure the win.
Celebrations for Paul Townend and Willie Mullins
It was jockey Paul Townend, riding in Bloom’s Brighton blue livery, who rode Energumene to victory, claiming the top spot on the podium. Mullins, who also saddled the first four horses, was ecstatic following the victory, especially after Chacun Pour Soi’s strong performance.
Brave Performance from Energumene
Mullins praised Energumene’s brave performance, saying, “Normally he wins with class but today he had to get down and fight it out. Paul had to get tough with him, and he answered every call.” Mullins suggested that the end of the season may have been getting to Energumene, as he was not as sharp as he was at Cheltenham.
Successful Day at Punchestown for Mullins
Mullins had a successful day at Punchestown, bringing his tally to four wins for the day. In addition to Energumene’s victory, he also won the Grade 1 KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle with Facile Vega, the Killashee Hotel Handicap Hurdle with Bialystok, and the €100,000 Goffs Defender Bumper with Predators Gold, piloted by Patrick Mullins.
Attendance at Punchestown Increases
The first day of the Punchestown Festival drew a crowd of 14,937, an increase of 500 from the previous year. The event was well-received by attendees, who enjoyed an exciting day of horse racing.