Djak To Go One Better And Strike Gold
The big race on Wednesday is the Punchestown Gold Cup (5.30pm) and if the current betting is to be believed, then the cup may be heading across the Irish Sea to Colin Tizzard’s yard where the mighty Cue Card (1/2) resides.
Card On Cue Again?
The last time Britain won the Punchestown Gold Cup was in 2010, when Planet Of Sound triumphed having flopped in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as did Cue Card, who crashed out three from home before bouncing back to win at Aintree (3m1f, good to soft).
That victory for Cue Card made it four wins from five races, and he heads to Punchestown in terrific form having beaten Don Poli 9l at Aintree. One slight concern for odds-on backers is that he finished only fourth in this race 12 months ago (beaten 15l), and this will be his sixth race in what has proven a busy season.
Another Cup For Mullins?
His victim from Aintree Don Poli (6/1) re-opposes once more and he’ll obviously need to improve upon that performance if winning, though he looks booked for a place at least.
Willie Mullins knows how to get his string finely tuned for this meeting and has won two of the last three renewals of this race, so Don Poli should not be written off.
Mullins also has Djakadam entered at 6/1, who has a similar profile to Don Poli. He’ll also need to step up having been beaten 17l by Cue Card at Aintree and previously finishing a gallant runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
His second to Don Cossack in this race 12 months ago makes him an interesting each-way alternative.
It’s worth noting however that with several of these having experienced a number of hard races of late, there could be a shock in store. After all two 20/1 shots havewon this since 2011, which is a fact worth bearing in mind with the talented Carlingford Lough on offer at 14/1.
Carlingford To Enjoy Last Laugh
John Kiely’s 10yo won the big Grade 1 novice over C&D at this meeting two years ago and showed he still retained that form when landing another Grade 1 in February (3m, heavy).
While there have been defeats in between those victories, including when fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (beaten 12l), he’ll appreciate the better ground at a course he likes, and he could make the frame.
Another who has solid place credentials following some consistent efforts is Noel Meade’s Road To Riches (10/1), who was third in the Ryanair Chase before a close second in a Grade 2 last time. With his last 12 form-figures showing as 232133112121, and having been third in this last year, he has to enter calculations.
Cue Card is respected, but his odds of 1/2 don’t compare to those of Djakadam, who is in form, was runner-up in this last year, and can be backed each-way at 6/1.
*Prices correct at time of publication.