Bellshill fancied to atone for Aintree near-miss
I'd love to be able to make a solid case for Don Poli or Djakadam turning the tables on Cue Card at Punchestown today, but it's not easy to do.
Cue Card has been the stand-out horse this season. You should never be afraid of one horse, and Cue Card, Vautour, Un De Sceaux and Don Cossack have all fallen this season.
Still, the Bibby Financial Services Gold Cup looks Cue Card's to lose. He didn't have a hard race at Cheltenham when he fell in the Gold Cup and he hardly came off the bridle at Aintree, so the fact that it's his third race in quick succession shouldn't be an issue. At Aintree, Djakadam didn't get home quite as well, so he may have been feeling the effects of his efforts in the Gold Cup. Don Poli, on the other hand, doesn't tend to overexert himself. You could see that he was still fresh from the way that he finished at Aintree and that tendency to keep a little for himself might stand to him again now.
I was lucky enough to get the ride on Bellshill at Aintree. His blunder two-out was the losing of the race that day, as he was running on fumes at the end. Last year, he was well beaten at Cheltenham, finished second at Aintree and then won here, so I'm hoping for a repeat of that now. He is a Grade One winner here and I think he will be a class apart in the novices' hurdle.
Bacardys won for me at Aintree, although Battleford put it up to him. Battleford could be improving more quickly than I expected and Castello Sforza was another that I was temped to ride, so I wouldn't be surprised if either troubled Bacardys in the Champion Bumper. I'm on Augusta Kate later on. While a mare having three quick runs is a worry, she has the best form. We also run Glens Melody's sister Glens Harmony, but she has it to do on her debut. The Nipper is well regarded, and could be the one to beat.
Rachael Blackmore has had an excellent first season as a professional and rides Mr Goodenough in the handicap chase. He has won here before and it would be no more than Rachael deserves were he to do so again now.
3.40 Tongie 4.20 Supasundae 4.55 Bellshill (nap) 5.30 Cue Card 6.05 Bacardys
6.50 Mr Goodenough 7.15 Augusta Kate