Wednesday 17 January 2018

Seek Road To Riches in compelling Gold Cup

Sean Flanagan rides Road to Riches. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Sean Flanagan rides Road to Riches. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

There are quite a few top staying chasers not around but the Stan James Irish Gold Cup tomorrow still intrigues.

Don Cossack is retired; Coneygree and Valseur Lido injured; Djakadam stays at home. Gigginstown nevertheless has a formidable hand and the value looks to be the 16/1 about its third-string, Road To Riches.

The 2014 Lexus winner has not scored since at Grade One level but his peak form entitles him to be bang there. He sports cheekpieces and should be coming to hand after an operation for kissing spines earlier this winter.

Don Poli can throw in a poor run, but clearly if he performs as he did at Christmas he ought to go close.

Barry Geraghty had no easy pick between Carlingford Lough and Minella Rocco but chose Carlingford Lough, which won the last two renewals.

Sizing John will be popular under the returning Robert Power, though this is hardly an ideal time to be trying three miles for the first time.

No less than four Grade Ones illuminate this fixture at Leopardstown, commencing with the Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh picking Bapaume over Meri Devie is a bit surprising and Housesofparliament seems the value under Geraghty.

Beaten less than a length in the Leger in September, he looked a pretty ready-made hurdler when second to Meri Devie at Christmas and he was only ready to start off, according to Joseph O'Brien.

Barra looks a big price at double figures despite taking on the males in a deep-but-average Deloitte Novice Hurdle. The distance will suit a hardy filly, which can cause a mild upset.

A Toi Phil is put forward in the Flogas Novice Chase. He loves the track, has only 1lb to find with Bellshill and is a far bigger price.

Another recent course winner, Toe The Line, has prospects of doubling up in the opening mares' handicap hurdle but giving 24lb to Blazing West may prove beyond her.

In the other handicap, apparent JP McManus third-string Voices Of Spring takes the eye under Jody McGarvey.

On The Fringe has a dire record in the Leopardstown Inn Hunters Chase so preference is for former high-class chaser Foxrock. Newcomer Voix Des Tiep ticks the boxes in the bumper.

Leopardstown expects the ground to be somewhere between yielding and soft, which will certainly favour Road To Riches, though it might be slightly easier at Naas this afternoon.

The nap vote there goes to Outspoken in the opening Credo Pizza Supporting Kill GAA Maiden Hurdle.

The Galileo-bred was very useful on the Flat and both his hurdling runs, spaced a year apart, suggest he has the winning of this. Rider Mark Walsh recorded a treble at the last Naas meeting and he might double up in the Jordan's Centra Supporting Kill GAA Rated Novice Hurdle with Fit To Be Tied, which is lightly raced and improving gradually for local handler Boots Madden.

Youcannotbeserious can treble up for McManus and Walsh in the O'Driscoll O'Neil Insurance Supporting Kill GAA Maiden Hurdle.

Walsh and McManus are tipped again in the BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase, a Listed feature. Slowmotion has no easy task against Listen Dear but getting 11lb at a tough track could well be the difference. She jumps cleanly.

McManus has three in the handicap chase but another chance is given to the frustrating Killer Crow, which drops in class and is becoming dangerously well-treated.

In the Cavan Developments Home Builder Supporting Kill GAA (Pro/Am) Flat Race, Michael Tabor's West Coast Time is preferred to Carter Mckay.

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