The Punchestown Gold Cup is the highlight of the second day of the Punchestown Festival – and this year’s contest could be an absolute thriller with Cheltenham Gold Cup second and third Djakadam and Rags To Riches, as well as Don Cossack, who hacked up at Aintree, all running.
The race is run over 25 furlongs and 17 fences, and the ground should be good to yielding as there is no rain forecast until Thursday.
All horses carry the same weight, whilst all winners in the last decade where aged between 6 and 9 with one 6-year-old, four 7-year-olds, three 8-year-olds and two 9-year-olds winning.
Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey with three wins in the last decade, one of which was for top Punchestown trainer Willie Mullins who has had two winners in that time.
It’s hard to believe Willie Mullins’ 6-year-old didn’t win the Hennessey in November, but his last two runs have been right out of the top drawer. The Cheltenham Gold Cup was a brutal race this year, though that didn’t stop Many Clouds winning the Grand National, and he has an obvious chance to complete a hat-trick in the race for his trainer.
Rags to Riches
The 8-year-ols is another to have made giant strides this season having won the Galway Plate and the Lexus before an admirable run in the Gold Cup. Been on the go a long time though and I wonder if this is one race too far.
The apple of Gordon Elliot’s eye has had a marvellous season which culminated in a brilliant win at Aintree under retired jockey AP McCoy. This looks an afterthought though, and him getting 25-furlongs is a doubt, and I’m not sure Paul Carberry will suit the horse as much as AP McCoy.
Arrived at Aintree after a 5-month break to run a cracker against Siviniaco Conti over a similar trip to this, which was his first attempt at it. Finished 2nd at last year’s festival to Sizing Europe over 2-miles and this could be his big day as he’s relatively fresh.
Gets another chance to shine over this sort of trip, but has yet to convince he’s as good as he was a couple of seasons ago, though should love the ground.
The Giant Bolster
Getting on a bit now and hasn’t looked as good as in previous years. Will like the ground but no real form going right-handed.
Boston Bob and On His Own
After Felix Yonger won the Champion chase yesterday you dismiss Wllie Mullins’ second and third strings at your peril – but neither have been in the form they were last year.
It would be no big surprise to see Djakadam, rags to Riches or Don Cossack win but, as none of them offer any each-way value, and they’ve all had hard seasons, the bet has to be Balynagour who could actually improve from his run at Aintree.
Ballynagour 2 points each-way @ 10/1 (various) 1/5 odds 1-2-3