Gold Cup Glory Once More For John And Robbie
Punchestown Gold Cup
An historic Gold Cup treble awaits Sizing John at Punchestown on Wednesday with Jessica Harrington’s stable star looking to become the first ever horse to win the Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups in the one season.
John Sizing More Glory
Punchestown was the scene of Sizing John’s first win over fences last season but this is a horse that has been transformed half way through this campaign when yet another defeat to Douvan at Christmas forced connections to make a move up in trip and he’s three from three ever since.
First up was the Kinloch Brae but it’s been the golden touch ever since with Harrington’s first runner in the Leopardstown race proving an impressive winner when Sizing John got the better of Empire Of Dirt by three parts of a length. At Cheltenham any question marks over his stamina were well and truly answered as he ran out a near three-length winner of racing’s blue riband contest.
Djakadam will be far more suited by the drop in trip as clearly Cheltenham’s Gold Cup is pushing his boundaries too far but given his form over two miles there’s no doubt that Sizing John will also be just as happy back at three miles around Punchestown.
So, he’s hard to oppose for a trainer who is churning out all sorts of winners at the moment and Robbie Power who cannot stop winning.
Coneygree is a fascinating inclusion to the race and will make it a real highlight of the week but you’d have to fear that he may just be found out against the fitter opposition.
Percy to justify rating
If it was just a case of the Albert Bartlett 1-2 Penhill and Monalee taking each other on again this would be a cracking race but add in the Pertemps winner Presenting Percy, Martin Pipe winner Champagne Classic and Al Boum Photo who looks an improver and you really do have a belter of a three-mile Grade One contest.
Presenting Percy is the pick to come out on top and with a rating of 159 – the highest of any novice hurdler in Ireland – Pat Kelly’s six-year-old will have to bring his recent form to justify such a mark but judging by how easily he won at Cheltenham, there’s every reason Presenting Percy has more to come in the locker.
Being a Cheltenham winner it is no surprise to see Penhill favourite, but Monalee is a horse with a big reputation who could well turn the tables from the Albert Bartlett but may still have to settle for minor honours, this time behind Presenting Percy.
Elliott’s Bumper team
It might be hard enough to get a winner at this Punchestown Festival but there’s every chance that Gordon Elliott could be responsible for the first two in the Champion Bumper.
Fayonagh is extremely difficult to oppose following her Cheltenham Festival winning exploits and she should be up to proving there was no fluke to that success.
The mare came from an almost impossible position to win at Cheltenham and will now aim to become just the third horse to do the Champion Bumper double but given the manner in which she won at Fairyhouse before Cheltenham, you’d have to think that she really is the real deal.
Poli Roi himself has a massive reputation and Katie Walsh has been booked to ride this Elliott runner for Gigginstown. He too impressed in his point-to-point and won his debut on the track quite nicely and is definitely a horse for the future but Fayonagh is given the nod.
Arthur on the Mind
Being only a five-year-old and on just his fourth ever start, Crossed My Mind might be thrown into the deep end a bit with a 25-runner handicap around Punchestown but Arthur Moore’s Wexford maiden hurdle winner might just be a few steps ahead of the handicapper.
You can’t beat experience and there’s no doubt that Crossed My Mind is the least experienced in the field, but there’s every chance he’ll be the best horse of this bunch in time and hopefully that’ll be enough to get him through a very competitive opening race on day two.
Crossed My Mind (8/1) – 3:40 Punchestown
Presenting Percy (11/4) – 4:55 Punchestown
Sizing John (Evens) – 5:30 Punchestown
Fayonagh (7/4) – 6:05 Punchestown
*Prices correct at time of publication