Cheltenham preview (14.25): Irish Cavalier looks pure Gold
David Metcalf | November 13, 2015
Irish Cavalier has a progressive profile and can defy a further rise in the weights to land the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham (14.25).
The Rebecca Curtis trained gelding showed improved form throughout last season, landing CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase over course and distance around Prestbury Park in tremendous style off a mark of 137. He then rounded off the campaign with a fine second of 17 to Blood Cotil in a valuable handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival off 145.
Judged on those efforts, Irish Cavalier looked one to keep onside, and that view was confirmed when the six-year-old made an impressive winning seasonal reappearance at Newton Abbot last month off a career-high mark of 151.
Cash in on Irish Cavalier
After being held-up in touch, Irish Cavalier made smooth headway to take up the running three from home and readily drew seven lengths clear approaching the last.
The son of Aussie Rules then made a mistake at the final obstacle, but only had to be nudged out with hands and heels on the run-in to beat Henryville by 1/2 a length.
Irish Cavalier was value for much more than the winning margin, and it was a performance which suggested there could be even better to come.
A 5lb rise for that success looks more than fair and, with Paul Towned in the saddle, Irish Cavalier looks the one to beat.
Boondooma a danger
There are plenty of dangers in a typically fierce and wide open renewal, and Boondooma is one that commands plenty of respect.
The gelding is trained by Dr Richard Newland and comes into the contest on the back of a career-best effort when scoring over 2m at the track last month.
Boondooma travelled strongly throughout at the head of affairs before staying on powerfully up the hill to score by three lengths off a mark of 147.
Although now 7lb higher in the weights, the manner of the victory suggested Boondooma was on a serious upward curve and he looks the type who may well have more to offer.
Johns Spirit also a shout
Another that looks sure to go well is Johns Spirit, who is bidding to become the first dual winner of the race since Cyfor Malta (1998 & 2002).
The Jonjo O’Neill trained eight-year-old won nicely in 2013 and was gunned down by Caid Du Berlais in the final strides 12 months ago when beaten a head off a mark of 156.
Johns Spirit is able to race off a mark just 1lb higher than last year, and that makes him look nicely treated on the pick of his form at a track which brings out the very best in him.
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Coral’s top tip: Irish Cavalier is progressing at a rate of knots and looks decent value to land the spoils. Boondooma rates a big danger.