Irish Gold Cup Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Leopardstown, 4th February 2018
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
Irish Gold Cup Betting Offers
Irish Gold Cup Tips and Race Preview
This weekend sees the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival. Hopes are high that the new meeting will flourish and eventually challenge the Cheltenham Festival in terms of prestige. There are certainly plenty of top quality races taking place at Leopardstown on Saturday and Sunday including the Irish Gold Cup.
Like it’s Cheltenham namesake, the Irish Gold Cup is a Grade 1 in which the very best chasers around compete for glory. Although it is a very well regarded race in its own right, punters always look to the Irish Gold Cup for pointers ahead of the Festival at Prestbury Park. Sizing John proved just how strong the form lines are between the two races when he won both of them last year, a double which every trainer with an entry to Sunday’s race will be dreaming of repeating.
Three Way Battle for Favouritism
Three horses are vying for favouritism at the head of the betting markets. Our Duke is the narrow favourite with most bookies while Anibale Fly and Killultagh Vic follow closely behind.
Our Duke certainly has the pedigree to win a race of this calibre and the Irish Grand National winner will have plenty of support from punters at Leopardstown. However, the drop back in trip to three miles could be problematic and his sole performance of the season so far was a disappointing one at Down Royal.
Anibale Fly is another who has got the job done in some highly competitive handicaps. There is no questioning the eight-year-old’s heart, it’s just his quality against this level of competition that makes him look a little short at a general 4/1.
The 9/2 that Betfred are quoting about Killultagh Vic’s chances looks much more tempting. Willie Mullins’ charge has proven his pace time and time again over hurdles and it’s now time for him to show that he can be just as successful over the fences.
Killultagh Vic returned from a long absence with a win at Punchestown on New Year’s Day and Mullins has been very pleased with his work at home. The lack of chasing experience will put some punters off but that only provides those who get on with more value. Sunday could be the day that Killultagh Vic shows the world what Mullins already believes, that he’s a genuine Grade 1 chaser.
Djakadam the Stand Out Each Way Option
Such is the quality of the field going to post for the Irish Gold Cup that you can make a solid argument for pretty much every horse. Few, however, having the chasing experience of Djakadam.
Although many believe that the nine-year-old’s chances of winning the Gold Cup at Cheltenham are now behind him following three near misses, Willie Mullins and owner, Rich Ricci, are not giving up yet.
Of the horses who beat Djakadam at Cheltenham last year, only Minella Rocco is competing at Leopardstown. He has every chance of reversing the form against Jonjo O’Neill’s inconsistent gelding and has more than enough to be competitive against the leading contenders.
While a win may be just out of reach, Djakadam still represents a solid each way option at a tempting 8/1 with Racebets.
Irish Gold Cup Previous Winners
- 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.