Punchestown day 2: Will we see a Cue Card procession in the Gold Cup?
Cue Card can cap a remarkable season by landing the Punchestown Gold Cup on the second day of Ireland’s jumps extravaganza but don’t expect the home party to offer a free pass.
Colin Tizzard’s stable star has already scooped the Betfair Chase, King George and Betfred Bowl this term with a fall three out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the only blot on his recent copybook.
Willie Mullins’ imperious Don Cossack took full advantage on that occasion but with his tendon injury enforcing his absence here the clamour for Cue Card has only intensified.
There is no doubting his credentials. And with the aforementioned Don Cossack missing some might say today’s race represents an open goal.
However, as the opening day of the festival proved, backing short-priced favourites coming to the end of a long, hard season is not without its risks.
Yorkhill, Vautour, Jenkins and Outlander each succumbed to defeat in their respective contests, ruining countless multiples in the process.
Those results could prove to be the exception rather than the rule at this year’s festival but still may be enough to put off more than a few from steaming into Cue Card’s current odds of 4/7.
There’s even been a bit of hype around the relatively unexposed Smashing, an impressive winner ahead of Road to Riches last time out.
Elsewhere on another cracking card, Bellshill is your favourite for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at 16:55.
Again though, it’s probably wise to treat that status with caution, especially given his questionable jumping.
Rival Coney Island is attracting plenty of attention following his victory at Fairyhouse at the first time of asking over this trip while the Sandra Hughes-trained Acapella Bourgeois has notched up successive graded wins heading into this contest.
However, we’re siding with the Racing Post’s Pricewise for our bet of the day.
Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth and former festival winner Irish Cavalier looks a great shout in the Guinness Handicap Chase at 18:40.
He’s taken on the best in the past and this drop into handicap company at his preferred trip looks ideal for the 7/1 shot.
And finally, Moon Racer is arguably one of the picks of the day in the Champion Flat Race at 18:05. Patient handling by trainer David Pipe has seen the Champion Bumper winner well-rested but if returning to his best on this reappearance there won’t be many able to live with the talented seven-year-old.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.