Gigginstown strong with fancied duo in Punchestown Gold Cup
After failing to pick up a win at the Festival, Gigginstown will be out for redemption at Punchestown.
And, with three strong charges, including two runners-up at Cheltenham, they have an excellent chance.
First Lieutenant was, ultimately, outclassed by Cue Card in the Ryanair Chase at a distance that was far from optimum. A blunder three out saw his chances shot and 2m4f was just too sharp.
However, given Cue Card’s run in behind the mesmerising Spinter Sacre at Aintree, that looks to be a very good bit form in hindsight.
That was not the only race that helped restore the charge’s reputation and victory in the Betfred Bowl Chase confirmed his class at his favoured distance.
The precocious Bryan Cooper steered his charge into the lead at the 14th and demonstrated why 3m1f is the perfect trip, staying on strongly in the final 100 yards to see off the challenges of Grade 1 winners Menorah and Silviniaco Conti.
His trainer Mouse Morris has won this race twice, including last years renewal, so knows what it takes to take home the plaudits and First Lieutenant is currently a 4/1 shot.
He will be looking to confirm form with Sir Des Champs, who he had three-quarters-of-a-length behind in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
At Cheltenham, Willie Mullins almost ended his Gold Cup drought, with the seven-year-old finding just Bobs Worth too good on the day.
It has been a season of ups-and-downs for the brilliant chaser. Unbeaten as a novice, Mullins will have been disappointed to finish fourth in the Lexus, especially as the non-stayer Flemenstar also got the better of him.
However, that Gold Cup performance demonstrated his bravura and, as a horse of the highest order, 2/1 represents his chances nicely.
Quito De La Roque did not travel to Prestbury Park but was fourth in behind First Lieutenant at Aintree. He looked slightly fresh that day on his first start since January and will have benefitted from that run.
Those looking for course form could be tempted by Colm Murphy’s charge as he was a winner of a Grade 1 novice at the track last year and provides plenty of value at 20/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.