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Gold Cup runner-up On His Own 5/2 to go one better at Punchestown

Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up On His Own heads Coral’s betting for next week’s Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup at 5-2, as he bids to give trainer Willie Mullins his third winner of the contest.

Stablemate Boston Bob is next in the betting at 10-3, ahead of First Lieutenant at 5-1, and Long Run, 6-1, after 18 horses stood their ground at the latest declaration stage for the Grade 1 contest on Wednesday, April 30th.

Mullins’ first winner of the race came courtesy of Florida Pearl back in 2002, and he won last year’s renewal with Sir Des Champs.

Like On His Own, Sir Des Champs had finished runner up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Graham Wylie-owned gelding looks to have major claims of following in his footsteps.

The 10-year-old went down by just a short-head to Lord Windermere at the Cheltenham Festival after being carried right on the run-in, and had previously won two valuable contests at Gowran Park and Fairyhouse.

That is the best form this season of anything in the line-up, and the son of Presenting is officially rated 2lb clear of his possible rivals at Punchestown.

They include Long Run and First Lieutenant, who finished second and third last year behind Sir Des Champs.

The former is trained by Nicky Henderson and has looked a shadow of his former self this season.

The nine-year-old got no further than the ninth fence in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree, and prior to that had put up a workmanlike display to win a minor contest at Kelso.

That was Long Run’s first win since landing the King George in 2012, and a fall at Aintree is hardly the ideal prep for this event.

First Lieutenant has run some solid races this season to be placed the Lexus and Hennessy Gold Cup, both Grade 1 races run at Leopardstown, but was made to look very one-paced when a laboured fourth of six to Silvianaco Conti in the Betfred Silver Bowl at Aintree when last seen in action.

The Mouse Morris trained nine-year-old is clearly capable of playing a leading role on the pick of his form, but will need to step up on his Aintree effort if he is to land the spoils.

The dark hores of the contest could well be Lyreen Legend, who is currently priced up at 8/1 with Coral.

Dessie Hughes’ gelding has only had seven starts over fences and ran an excellent race to finish sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The seven-year-old held every chance when clouting the second last in the extended 3m 2f contest, and the drop back in trip looks sure to suit.

Given his unexposed profile over the larger obstacles, it would be no surprise to see improve again and prove the main threat to On His Own.