The Punchestown Gold Cup (3.15) is the feature race on the final day of Festival and Quantitativeeasing looks the value bet at 7/1 to provide Tony McCoy with another big race winner.
Nicky Henderson’s gelding has a bot to find on the book on his first try in Grade 1 company, but this is a weak renewal and it would be no surprise if he proved up to the task.
The gelding finished a fine second to Great Endeavour in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham back in November and then put up an impressive display when going one better and beating Medermit over 2m 5f at the same venue.
Although he was was then slightly disappointing when finishing seventh of 19 to Alfie Sherrin in the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival on his latest start, he is just the type to bounce back and will relish the going.
He has plenty of winning form on heavy, and the fact that he comes into the race a fresh horse having been lightly campaigned is another plus.
To me he has every chance of being competitive in this, and at the odds on offer makes far more appeal than market leaders Quel Esprit and Rubi Light.
The other Grade 1 on a cracking card is the AES Champion Four Year old Hurdle (4.30pm) and I think that Darroun is way overpriced at 16/1.
He is one of two Willie Mullins’ trained runners in the contest, and although Ruby Walsh has chosen to partner Ut De Sivola I think he may well have got it wrong.
To me Darroun has by far the stronger form in the book, and I can’t fathom out why he is near three times the odds of his stable companion.
The gelding finished an excellent 1/2 length second to Shadow Catcher on his debut in heavy ground at Punchsetown and then readily accounted for Hisaabat on his next start at Leopardstown.
He was quietly fancied for the Triumph Hurdle on the back of that effort, but weakened quickly two from home having been up with the pace to finish 13th of 20 to Countrywide Flame.
I feel that he was ridden too aggressively that day on ground that was probably too quick for him, and he is definitely worth another chance to confirm the promise he had shown in his previous to runs under conditions which should suit him far better.
Daily Sport recommended bets: 2pts win Quantitativeeasing (7/1 Boylesports – BOG0
2pts each-way Darroun (16/1 Stan James, Coral)