Irish Gold Cup Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

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 Tips and Betting Offers, 3:30, 2nd February 2020

The Irish Gold Cup (or Irish Hennessy as it’s still known by many) is one of the main trials for the following month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Winning both races is a considerable challenge was has only been achieved by three horses since over the years. Connections of a few of those in the field for Sunday’s renewal of this Grade 1, 3 mile contest are hopeful that their charges will be able to succeed at Cheltenham but who will come out on top at Leopardstown?

Market Principles May Miss Out

Of the high class chasers in the field for the Irish Gold Cup, it’s the top two in the betting – Kemboy and Delta Work – who are considered the most likely to contend in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Kemboy is the narrow favourite over Delta Work. Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old has only been seen once this season and the bookies are clearly happy to forgive him a less than top notch run in the Savills Chase. Many judges put his inability to find top gear down to a lack of a warm up run but there is no guarantee he will come on for his recent outing at Leopardstown.

Delta Work did have a run under his belt before he competed in the same race at Leopardstown and that undoubtedly helped him claim the win at 11/2. The seven-year-old is potentially a chaser of the highest calibre and will win major prizes under the watchful eye of Gordon Elliott but this year may come a little too soon for him to land either the Irish or Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Chris’s Dream Well Priced to Score

At a general price of 33/1 in the ante post betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, few are expecting Chris’s Dream to do something special next month. He may, however, shake things up a little with a big win at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Henry De Bromhead’s eight-year-old did some very good work in the novice chasing division last year and needed no warm up on his return to action in November. Chris’s Dream justified his billing as the favourite for the Troytown Handicap despite carrying 11st 7lb on soft ground, proving that he is a hardy type.

Victory at Cheltenham may be beyond him when the Gold Cup field are at full fitness but he has a real chance of scoring on Sunday at a tempting 6/1 with Ladbrokes.

Bellshill Can Hang Tough

Presenting Percy is another in the Irish Gold Cup who features prominently in the Cheltenham ante post markets. The nine-year-old has bags of ability but Patrick Kelly and Davy Russell just haven’t quite been able to work out the tactics to get the best out of him.

That is not a problem that Willie Mullins has about Bellshill. The 10-year-old is a very good jumper and has bags of stamina so he will enjoy the soft ground expected at Leopardstown. He only had to beat three horses to win this race last year but there is no reason why he cannot run well again with an each way bet tempting at 16/1 with bet365.

Betting Predictions

After last year’s disappointing renewal, the 2020 Irish Gold Cup is shaping up to be the race that fans and punters are hoping for. With so many potential winners in the field it will be a race that you cannot miss whilst punters have some great value to choose from, the best of which is arguably provided by Chris’s Dream at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.

Irish Gold Cup Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Bellshill – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 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 2020 he has 10 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.