Leopardstown – Hennessy Gold Cup Day Preview

1.15 Leopardstown

Fascinating trial for the Triumph Hurdle. Having finished third to Royal Irish Hussar at Doncaster, Guitar Pete will hopefully give a clue to the merits of juvenile hurdlers both sides of the Irish Sea. He sets a good standard and is 2lb clear of Ivan Grozny on FSF ratings. The latter improved round 16lb for his debut run and is the best of these on the flat. He jumps and travels easily in his races and will be hard to beat. Unable to penetrate the force field that surrounds Ballydoyle, one can only speculate as to how my much Plinth has improved for his debut run, when just catching Ivan Grozny. I thought he did well to win that day as he lost ground on the home turn before losing valuable momentum with a mistake at the final flight. He travelled and jumped well up until the second last and should improve for the experience. How much is another question

2.15 Leopardstown












The Tullow Tank is a Graded winner which is displayed in the ratings. He has steadily improved over hurdles though his trainer believes he is at his very best going right-handed. Quickpic Vic looked a horse on the up last time out and will not be disgraced at this level. Much has been written about Vautour and he looks, potentially top-class. Things did not go right for him last time out; however, he managed to overcome them with a gutsy win. He looks happiest going left-handed and barring unforeseen circumstances, there will be no excuses today. Regarding Cheltenham targets, I suggest all three have the breeding to be effective over two and two and a half-miles. In the past decade, nine winners have gone on to run at Cheltenham. Six of those ran in the Neptune (none of them made the first three) while three in the Supreme (Two winners and a third).

2.45 Leopardstown












Classic case of form in the book against the promise of Ballycasey. Don Cossack has been brought along steadily and has, is in my opinion, more ability than Carlingford Lough. Interestingly, this will be his first chase going left-handed. Carlingford Lough has done nothing but improve since winning at Galway in July. Don Cossack holds him on Fairyhouse form over two and a half-miles last December and looks susceptible at this trip. Ballycasey won his debut chase with ease. His hurdle form with Morning Assembly suggests he has something to find with the two other runners. However, he has always promised to be a far better chaser and should go close today. He will be suited to three-miles suggesting a win here send a serious RSA message to those in waiting. In the past decade, two horses have won this race and the RSA, two fell, one was brought down, one was unplaced, and four did not run. Willie Mullins has trained the winner of this race four times in the same time period. Two won the RSA, one fell and one did not run.

3.50 Leopardstown

Fascinating race in which Tidal Bay 4lb clear of First Lieutenant on FSF and 2lb clear on FORM ratings. Both ran super races last time out and I find it hard to split them. Lyreen Legend will improve and is interesting. Last Instalment ran a blinder on his return, though I fear he may be in “bounce territory” today.