The Irish Gold Cup, which takes place at Leopardstown on Saturday at 15:15, is one of the most eagerly anticipated Grade 1 races on the calendar. And, for those who enjoy betting on or watching the racing, they’ll be pleased to read that the runners and riders for the showpiece event have now been confirmed.
The defending champion Kemboy, which will be ridden by Paul Townend and trained by Willie Mullins, will be a horse many are keeping tabs on. There is a belief by some that the defending champion has enough about it to go on and scoop another Irish Gold Cup, but there is stiff competition in the eight-strong field.
For many, if there is a horse that will be able to beat the defending champion, it will be Frodan, with Bryony Frost on board. Trainer Paul Nicholls believes Frodan has got what it takes, and the odds reflect this, as many currently have it installed as the slight favourite ahead of Kemboy.
In terms of an outsider with genuine claims, you have Minella Indo, where Robbie Power will this time take the ride over Rachael Blakemore. From fifteen races so far, Blakemore has been in the saddle on twelve occasions on Minella Indo, and the switch to Power is potentially why some see such a great horse as an outsider in a race that it’s more than capable of winning.
The other runners and riders include Asterion Forlonge and Bryan Cooper, Delta Work and Jack Kennedy, Janidil and Mark Walsh, Conflated and Davy Russell and Cilaos Emery and Sean O’Keeffe.
As far as tips go, Frodan is the horse to beat. Yes, you can make an argument for the defending champion Kemboy to deliver again. But, with Bryony Frost in the saddle, there’s rightfully a lot of confidence that the Nicholls trained horse is going to be there or thereabouts.
As an outsider, Conflated is interesting. On multiple occasions, the Davy Russell link up with Gordon Elliott has born fruit. And, while it’s way out in the betting, Russell is an experienced jockey who will carry out a well-planned strategy.
Elsewhere at the Dublin Racing Festival, there will be six horses in the field for the 14:10 Irish Arkle Novice Chase, and Willie Mullins has three entrants. Blue Lord and Paul Townend, Haut En Couleurs and Bryan Cooper and Saint Sam and Rachael Blackmore are all Mullins’ charges, with many tipping Blue Lord to win.
But, while Mullins has 50% of the runners in the race, Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’etel is well fancied, and with Jack Kennedy on board, the five-year-old could pass the finishing post ahead of the rest of the Mullins strong field. Other runners come from Joseph O’Brien, with JJ Slevin taking the ride on Busselton and Donagh Meyler onboard Embittered. So the Arkle Novice Chase and the Irish Gold Cup should prove to be two excellent races.