Bostons Angel is currently 33/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds and he could yet prove the crème of a supposedly weak Irish crop taking part in the Festival showpiece.
Ireland have not had the greatest track record in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the past decade, with Kicking King’s win in 2005 and War Of Attrition’s success in the following year, their only high points.
This disappointing record is not expected to improve this year, especially as it was the British-trained Synchronised that sprung a semi surprise to land the Lexus Chase in December, typically the biggest Irish trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The chief Irish pretenders will get a final chance to showcase their claims in the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup, but this race has been hit by two high-profile absences.
Jessies’ Dream was the first to be pulled out, while Quito De La Roque has now also been removed following a bad scope.
This is particularly frustrating as Quito De La Roque was widely predicted to be the best of the Irish contingent and remains 20/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, although he may now struggle to have a final preparation run beforehand.
Therefore, the onus will almost solely be on Quel Esprit and Bostons Angel to win what now looks like a soft Group One contest at Leopardstown to head to Cheltenham with a victory under their belts.
Quel Esprit has triumphed in two relatively simple races this year and seems to have benefited from the decision to enter him in weaker contests to work on his previously suspect jumping.
He is also 20/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds.
Bostons Angel has disappointed since moving up from the novice ranks with victory in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last year and must be given a chance if putting his best foot forward at Leopardstown.