Irish Gold Cup Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Leopardstown, 3rd February 2019
Highlight of a cracking early February card at Leopardstown is the Irish Gold Cup. Here we take a look at some of the best odds and offers surrounding this flagship race and provide our own betting tips.
First run in 1987, the race formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup (not to be confused with the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury) is the highlight of a Leopardstown card featuring four Grade 1 contests. This three mile chase features 17 fences in all and offers a formidable challenge to some of the top staying chasers in training. In excess of €86,000 is on offer to the winner in addition to the famous Gold Cup trophy.
Irish Gold Cup Betting Tips
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
- Road to Respect to win at 9/4 with Bet365
Irish Gold Cup Betting Offers
Irish Gold Cup 2019 Tips and Race Preview
Kemboy absence bodes well for Monalee
Kemboy was all set to feature in this race but late on Willie Mullins decided that he will rest him until the Cheltenham Festival gets underway. Having finished second to the six-year-old during Leopardstown’s Savills Chase in December, this is positive news for Monalee’s (x/x, x) chances here. Henry De Bromhead’s gelding fell on his Leopardstown debut but has since put in two solid efforts on the premier courses. One thing to note though is that the RSA Chase runner-up rarely exceeds expectation. He’s not won a race over fences where he’s not been the favourite so he may have to settle for a place finish here.
Road to Respect a deserving favourite
Monalee was not the only Irish Gold Cup contender who feature during December’s Savills Chase at Leopardstown. Road to Respect was present for the three mile contest, setting off as the 9/4 favourite on the back of his fine showing in Down Royal’s Champion Chase. Noel Meade’s horse had to settle for third place though on an afternoon where little went his way. He found himself short of room on occasion and was checked after the fourth fence. If able to stay out of trouble this time, the eight-year-old should be able to show off his class ans demonstrate the prowess seen at Down Royal in November.
Al Boum Photo cannot be relied upon
At longer odds, Al Boum Photo would most certainly be worthy of a punt in this race but x/x (xxx) is just not good enough for a horse with his record. He shone on his season return at Tramore but so often the gelding has impressed but then let himself down on his next start. He’s yet to win two chase events back to back and he’s unlikely to break this record over a distance not to his liking. Willie Mullins’ horse is one of just two horses on the racecard without a distance win despite three previous attempts at this trip. He’s never once looked comfortable at three miles and may be caught ought in the final stages on Sunday.
Bellshill stands as Mullins’ best hope
With Kemboy pulled and Al Boum Photo far too inconsistent, Bellshill (x/x, x) looks like being the best shot Willie Mullins has at a tenth Irish Gold Cup win. His nine-year-old is certainly not without hope in this contest, having looked decent on his season return, finishing fourth, a length behind Road to Respect. While a horse that can perform on heavy going, Sunday’s good ground should not cause him too many issues. On only slightly softer turf he impressively won the Punchestown Gold Cup in April, able to hold off stablemate Djakadam. This was not the first time he’s ran well over three miles so this upcoming challenge should see him finish among the top three.
Irish Gold Cup Previous Winners
- 2018 – Edwulf – jockey Derek O’Connor, trainer Joseph O’Brien
- 2017 – Sizing John – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Jessica Harrington
- 2016 – Carlingford Lough – jockey Mark Walsh, trainer John Kiely
- 2015 – Carlingford Lough – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer John Kiely
- 2014 – Last Instalment – jockey Brian O’Connell, trainer Philip Fenton
- 2013 – Sir Des Champs – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2012 – Quel Esprit – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2011 – Kempes – jockey David Casey, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2010 – Joncol – jockey Alain Cawley, trainer Paul Nolan
- 2009 – Neptune Collonges – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2008 – The Listener – jockey Daryl Jacob, trainer Robert and Sally Alner
- 2007 – Beef Or Salmon – jockey Andrew McNamara, trainer Michael Hourigan
- 2006 – Beef Or Salmon – jockey Paul Carberry, trainer Michael Hourigan
Irish Gold Cup History
Initially named after one of the greatest Irish trainers of them all, the legendary Vincent O’Brien, the title was changed to the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1991. The race soon came to be referred to as the “Irish Hennessy” by racing fans, in order to distinguish it from the English chase of the same name. From 2016 the race will be simply titled the Irish Gold Cup. Many Irish jumping greats have graced this race over the years, including the massively popular Florida Pearl and Beef Or Salmon who came to be household names on the Emerald Isle.
Way out in front as the most successful trainer in this race is the unsurpassed Willie Mullins. As of 2015 he has nine victories in all including a remarkable period of dominance between the years of 1999 and 2005, when he took home the prize on no fewer than six occasions.
The chief contributor to this reign of success was the remarkable Florida Pearl who won the race three years in succession between 1999 and 2001, then in 2004 returned at the grand old age of 12 to claim a fourth triumph in his final racecourse appearance. This feat marked him out as both the most successful horse in the history of the race and its oldest ever winner.
Multiple winners are however relatively common here. In addition to Florida Pearl, Carvill’s Hill (twice), Nick The Brief (twice), Jodami (three times) and Beef Or Salmon (three times) have all came home in front on more than one occasion.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has achieved a famous feat in this race. Having ridden Playschool to victory for David Barons in 1988, the Ditcheat Handler then sent out Neptune Collonges to land the trophy in 2009 under the guidance of Ruby Walsh. That horse of course later went on to win the Grand National in 2012.
One interesting statistic with this race is that whilst it is open to runners aged five years and older, it has not yet been won by a horse younger than seven. Jumping and staying experience seem to be the order of the day here as any novicey error will be ruthlessly exploited.
In the build up to the Cheltenham Festival in March, this race serves as one of the best trials for the festival showpiece, the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself. Only two horses to date have managed to achieve the famous double though, namely Jodami in 1993 and Imperial Call in 1996.