The Punchestown Gold Cup is the big race on the second day, of the 2014 Punchestown Festival. The trip is 3 miles and 1 furlong, and we have 10 runners declared. I preview and provide my tips for the race. If you want my best tips everyday, then check out my hugely successful Premium Advisory Service, which is +407 points, for an ROI of +30.3% since launch 7 months ago.
On His Own is a 10 year old, but you could argue he isn’t totally exposed yet, and he appeared to put up a career best last time, when beaten just a short head in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Nobody could argue it was a vintage renewal beforehand, and with Bob’s Worth running well below form, and Silviniaco Conti appearing to be below his best as well, the form isn’t great.
That said On His Own was maybe a little unlucky not to win, being carried right by the runner up on the run in. He has also had just 13 chase starts, and given he was trained for the Grand National for the previous few years, it’s only really been this year that he’s had a chance to show what he can do against the top horses. The ground won’t be a problem, as it was good at Cheltenham, and he goes fine on soft too, and a repeat of his Cheltenham form could easily be good enough.
Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride Boston Bob, and he still has the potential to go to the top over fences. He looked sure to win last years RSA at Cheltenham when falling at the last, and this year he came 6th in the Ryanair, before winning the grade 1 over 2 1/2 miles at Aintree.
Boston Bob has never won over further than 2 miles 5 furlongs, but this is a clear example of why you need to delve more into a performance than just the bare result, if you want to make an accurate assessment of a horse, and its preferences. Bar a fall he would almost certainly have won the RSA over 3 miles, especially if his rider hadn’t made a premature move wide around the bend. He looked for all the world that he needed further, when outpaced, before staying on in the Ryanair, and even in winning at Aintree he looked like he’d be better over further.
The form of his Aintree win is probably still shy of On His Own’s Gold Cup 2nd, and while I’d expect Boston Bob to be better over this trip, and thus he could improve again, a concern would be his abject performance at Punchestown last season, when he was well beaten when falling. You shouldn’t read too much into one run though, and he did back up his Cheltenham run this year at Aintree, but he is now trying to perform to his best again, at his 3rd big Festival in a short space of time.
First Lieutenant is a very tough and consistent horse, but I don’t think he’s as good as he was. Around 3 miles on decent ground is his optimium conditions, but he was pretty disappoiting under such conditions at Aintree last time, in the race he won the year before. He has now been beaten in his last 6 races, and while the decent ground will suit, I’d be surprised if he was good enough.
Lyreen Legend ran a little better than the result in the Gold Cup, only fading out of it late, having been 3rd jumping the 2nd last. That said though, he has only won one of his 9 chase starts, and he has come up short at this level on many occasions. He was behind On His Own last time, and despite the fact he’s 3 years older, I think that one has more potential to progress too.
I don’t think Long Run was ever as good as the ratings he got, but that said, at his best he would still have beaten this lot pretty easily. He just doesn’t seem the same horse now, and while he went with loads of enthusiasm at Aintree until falling, it may be he just needs further theses days, as he does appear to have gone very slow. This is a well below par grade one though, and even a reproduction of what he showed in the King George back in December would give him a place chance.
Argocat appeared to show improved form at Aintree last time, when 3rd of 6, beaten just 3l by Silviniaco Conti, but I think it’s partly a case that the others were below their best after hard races at Cheltenham, and even on his previous form, he would look short of the required standard for this. Morning Assembly is due to run in the Novice race today, and would need to improve a good bit, even if he does turn up in this, while it’s hard to see the other three being good enough either.
This is far from a top grade one chase. Boston Bob has the potential to improve, but he also has to produce his best at his third festival in just over 6 weeks. On His Own may be a 10 year old, but he hasn’t had that many chase starts, and still has the potential to improve a bit. His Gold Cup form, despite the fact it was a poor renewal, is still the best form on offer here, and while it’s not a standout bet, I’d have him shorter than the 7/2 available.
5.30 Punchestown Gold Cup Tips
2 Point Win On His Own at 7/2 with