Santa is Gearing up for the Punchestown Festival According to McLoughlin

Posted: 18th April 2019

Santa is Gearing up for the Punchestown Festival According to McLoughlin

Dermot McLoughlin is hoping that all his Christmases will come at the Punchestown Festival as he prepares Santa Rossa for the Grade 1 Racing Post Champion Bumper. 

Already a Grade 2 winner this season, Santa Rossa was beaten less than four lengths at Aintree earlier this month and McLoughlin feels the daughter of Jeremy can take on the geldings again in the only Grade 1 race restricted to amateur jockeys. 

"Finny Maguire rode Santa Rossa in Aintree and he just said she got too keen as they were going past the stands the first time," McLoughlin revealed. 

"She still turned into the straight the last time travelling well and I think she deserves to take her chance in the Grade 1 Racing Post Champion Bumper. I'll discuss it again with the owner, Mr Conway, closer to the time but I think she would be entitled to go for that race on her form so far."

Santa Rossa will also be entered in the Grade 3 Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race on the same card. 

"She has come out of her race at Aintree in great form and everything we've asked her to do she has gone and done. She is always a filly you would be looking forward to and the ground wouldn't be any inconvenience for her."

Another of McLoughlin's highly rated inmates is Canardier who won the GVA Donal O'Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race at Punchestown two years ago. 

Following two fine runs at Cheltenham and Aintree, Canardier is due to finish his season in the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle on the final day of Punchestown. 

"It was just a pity the ground went for him in Aintree but hopefully that doesn't look like it will be a problem at Punchestown," McLoughlin reported. 

"You don't need to do much with him between his races, he's fit and a very clear-winded horse. He ran a great race at both Cheltenham and Aintree and the only problem with that is that you are creeping up the weights the whole time but that's life. It's a nice pot at Punchestown and hopefully, he'll finish on a high."

The 2019 Punchestown Festival kicks off on Tuesday 30th April and runs to Saturday 4th May with a record prize fund of €3,222,500 on offer. Entries for the Grade A Guinness Handicap Chase, the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase and the Grade B Ballymore Handicap Hurdle have closed for entries and will be revealed on Monday. Full event information and tickets available on