The Irish Gold Cup was first run in 1987 and remains one of the most prestigious races in the Irish Calendar, though only Jodami and Imperial Call have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year.
It is run over 3-miles and 17 fences at 16:00 on Sunday 12th February 2017 at Leopardstown , with winners aged between 7 and 12. Meanwhile, there have been several multiple winners including Florida Pearl (4), Jodami (3) and Beef or Salmon (3), and Carlingford Lough bids to join them by making it a hat-trick after victories in 2015 and 2016.
8 runners are set to go to post for the 2017 Irish Gold Cup
Barry Geraghty hasn’t been aboard for either of his two previous victories, but chooses him over last year’s National Hunt Chase winner Minella Rocca and More Of That. Also won the 2016 Punchestown Gold Cup, and looks sure to have been trained for the minute. Bids to become only the third horse older than 10 to win, but has arguably been improving with age over the last two seasons.
Placed in many of the biggest 3-mile chases around, and has an excellent course and distance record having won the Topaz Novice Chase and been first and second in the Lexus Chase. Looks sure to be there or there about, but might have preferred heavier ground to bring his stamina into play.
Empire Of Dirt
Improving 10-year-old who sluiced-up in a handicap over course and distance off a mark of 148 last year. Up to 160 now, which leaves him with only a few pounds to find with the best of these, and could have further improvement to come.
Excelled over 4-miles when winning last season’s National Hunt Chase, and it remains to be seen whether a drop back to 3-miles suits as well. Connections may be seeing if he’s a potential Gold Cup horse or whether they should save him for the Grand National.
More Of That
The former World Hurdle winner is the apple of trainer Jonjo O’Neill’s eye, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he’s been disappointing over fences. Could yet bounce back, but it’s a big ask here.
Road To Riches
Second last year on ground softer than ideal, but looked likely to be beaten again by Carlingford Lough when falling late-on in last season’s Punchestown Gold Cup. Form this season also below par, but another who could bounce back.
Stamina needs to be taken on trust, but he seemed to relish the step-up to 2½ miles last time. If he stays, a line through Sub Lieutenant gives him every chance, and there’s a chance he’ll improve again for this step-up in trip.
Only 7th in the Lexus Chase and, whilst he has form claims on his win in the big novice chase at Punchestown last season, he’s rarely run up to his best here.
2017 Irish Gold Cup Summary
Calingford Lough should make a bold bid for the hat-trick, though in-play punters may want to play him late considering how far back he tends to come from. Don Poli should also be on the premises considering his high-class course from, whilst Empire Of Dirt remains unexposed at this level. However, Sizing John looks even more unexposed, and he could yet take high-rank amongst the 3-mile chasers.
2017 Irish Gold Cup Tip
Sizing John – 0.5pt each way @ 11/2 PaddyPower, Coral