Monday 20 November 2017

WATCH - Our experts won't oppose Sizing John but expect the Elliott-Mullins title battle to hot up

A first trainers championship for Gordon Elliott or a 10th-in-a-row for Willie Mullins?
A first trainers championship for Gordon Elliott or a 10th-in-a-row for Willie Mullins?
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

All eyes will be on Sizing John this afternoon as he looks to add to his Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph with victory in the Punchestown equivalent today.

Speaking on our Day Two preview, in association with BoyleSports, both Niall Cronin of The Herald and the Irish Independent's Johnny Ward were tipping Jessica Harrington' horse who is bidding to become the first horse to win the Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups in the same season.

"Everything Jessie is touching at the minute is turning to gold, so it is very hard to go against him," Cronin said.

"Djakadam will be suited by coming back to three miles, he had the perfect lead up to Cheltenham and it didn't happen for him. He clearly doesn't stay.

"Sizing John won't be inconvenienced by coming back to three miles either, you like to put a bit of value out there, but I can't see anything getting beyond the favourite.

"He could be a horse for the ages."

The Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle is shaping up to be one of the races of the week with Cheltenham winners Presenting Percy for Patrick Kelly and Willie Mullins' Penhill going head-to-head.

Monalee and Bon Papa will also have big claims.

Cronin believes Monalee could turn the tables on Penhill but Noel O'Brien has given Presenting Percy the highest rating in the race and he is confident a grade one victory is on the way.

Ward thinks Penhill might have too many guns for Kelly's runner but only time will tell.

Only seven horses will take their chance in the Grade One Champion Bumper and it promises to be another intriguing encounter.

Jamie Codd holds Poli Roi in very high regard and would have preferred if Fayonagh had targeted the mares bumper instead, Cronin revealed.

"What Fayonagh did in Cheltenham was either an incredible performance or a fluke and I think it was an incredible performance," he said.

Ward likes Someday for Jessica Harrington on the basis of the confidence Harrington had at Cheltenham about her.

He also likes Blast Of Koeman in today's opener and Willie Mullins' Polidam in the €100,000 Guinness Handicap Chase.

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