Nothing Folly About Poli’s Gold Cup Bid
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Jump racing’s Blue Riband event takes place on the final day of the festival courtesy of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which has a very open look to it this year via five runners ranging from 4/1 to 6/1.
With such an open look, now looks an ideal time to have a punt, as any defectors would see the odds cut, but there is minimum risk involved with Non Runner Cash Back. The fact stakes are returned should any runner head to another race is a handy piece of insurance – for instance, Don Cossack (4/1) is also entered for the Ryanair Chase.
Trip Will Suit Don
It’s hard to know which race will be favoured for Don come the festival, though the fact he was staying on late in the Ryanair Chase over 2m5f here 12 months ago suggests this kind of trip is required. A four-time Grade 1 winner over fences, including twice over 3m, this could be the race in which Gordon Elliott’s 9yo goes from being a very good horse to a champion.
Also entered in the Ryanair is Willie Mullins’ 7yo Vautor (9/2), who was narrowly outstayed in the King George at Kempton over Christmas (3m, good to soft) – one of the best trials for the Gold Cup. Winner of the 2015 JLT Novices’ Chase here (2m4f, good), before adding a Grade 2 at Ascot in November (2m5f, good to soft), it’s possible he’ll be better over the Ryanair’s shorter trip.
Djakadam To Swap Silver For Gold?
Mullins may instead rely on last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup second, Djakadam (5/1), who has this is as his sole entry. This 7yo almost ended Mullins’ dry spell in the Gold Cup (0-14 in this race since 1997), when beaten just over 1l by Coneygree 12 months ago, and showed he retains that ability when landing the John Durkan at Punchestown over Christmas (2m4f, heavy).
The main concern is Djakadam’s jumping, as he fell for the second time over fences on Trials Day here in January, but is capable of going close if getting in a clear round.
Nothing Folly About Poli
Mullins is keen to get his name on the Gold Cup and he also has Don Poli (5/1) entered. This 7yo arrives with an excellent chase record, having already racked up a record of 5-6 over fences, which included the RSA Chase here 12 months ago. That race so often points up a future Gold Cup winner, and with Don Poli winning both outings this term, including the Lexus Chase (another solid pointer for this), his star is rising fast.
Cue Card has also been in terrific form this time around, landing two big Grade 1’s in the Betfair Chase and the King George, and will finally get a crack at the Gold Cup.
Winner of the 2013 Ryanair Chase, Cue Card looks to have developed more stamina with age, and looks sure to go well at decent odds.
There are plenty of ifs and buts as to who will run in the race, but the Non Runner Cash Back is available for punters looking to get involved now. One who certainly catches the eye pre-festival is Don Poli, who won last year’s RSA Chase here and has done nothing but improve this term.