Apple’s Jade took this contest twelve months ago when proving half a length too good for Supasundae. She has looked better than ever this season with an eleven length romp in the Lismullen Hurdle followed by a twenty length demolition of Supasundae in the Hatton’s Grace. In truth, it’s hard to see anything other than a victory for Gordon’s mare.
Faugheen looked back to his best when spearheading a strong field in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown at the end of last season. That was his first crack at 3 miles since his novice days but it now looks his optimum trip. Willie dropped him down in trip in the Morgiana when last seen but he just doesn’t have the legs for it now and back at 3 miles he must be feared.
It would seem it is a two horse race and it’s very difficult to see anything else featuring.
Selection: Apple’s Jade
Road To Respect won this last year and would seem to hold leading claims to landing back-to-back victories in the race. Noel Meade’s charge went on to finish third in both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cup’s, which is very strong form. He started the current campaign with an absolute drumming of Woodland Opera in the JN Wine Chase at Down Royal and he will be a tough nut to crack.
Another from the Gigginstown battalion is Shattered Love, who was an impressive winner of the JLT at Cheltenham last season. That was her last victory and although she has run well in all her recent starts, it’s disappointing she hasn’t got her head in front and she will need the sex allowance to make all the difference.
Monalee seems to be one of those “talking” horses and even though he won a Grade 1 last season, I would say he hasn’t fully delivered on his promise. There was a big debate prior to Cheltenham around who would win the RSA Chase, Monalee or Presenting Percy? It was Henry De Bromhead’s charge who prevailed in no uncertain manner and although Monalee is obviously a talented horse, I think he may struggle to consistently find the winning bracket in tier 1 company.
The Eddie Harty trained Coney Island was one of the hype horses and a bit of a springer in the Gold Cup ante-post market following his nine-length demolition od Adren Du Pont at Ascot but two rather tame pulled up’s ended his season rather than Gold Cup Glory. There was a glimmer of hope in his opening run of the season behind Apple’s Jade and he could be a force to be reckoned with back over fences.
Others of note include Annible Fly and Kemboy.
Selection: Road To Respect