Leopardstown preview: Lexus Chase (15.05)
David Metcalf | December 28, 2015
Don Poli can underline his Gold Cup claims by landing the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown today (15.05).
An impressive winner of last season’s RSA Chase at Cheltenham before failing to fire at Punchestown in April, the Willie Mullins trained six-year-old overcame adversity to get the the better of last season’s Grand National hero Many Clouds when making a winning return to action in the Lotto Chase at Aintree earlier this month.
Don Poli’s girth strap went with about half a circuit to run, and jockey Bryan Cooper performed miracles to stay in the plate and steer him to success.
Although Don Poli only scored by four lengths, he is a lazy sort who only does what is required and forged clear 200 yards from the line to win with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
It was a performance which oozed class, and the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding is currently 5/1 joint second favourite with Coral for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup on the back of it.
Tough conditions no obstacle for Don Poli
The testing conditions this afternoon will hold no fears for the strong staying son of Poliglote, and Don Poli looks a worthy odds-on favourite to make it five wins from six starts over the larger obstacles.
Sir Des Champs, who like Don Poli carries the colours of the Gigginstown House Stud and is trained by Willie Mullins, looks the obvious danger.
The nine-year-old is a high class chaser who finished runner-up to Bobs Worth in the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup before going on to easily beat Long Run in a Grade 1 contest at Punchestown.
Since then Sir Des Champs has been plagued by injuries and very lightly raced, but he showed that the big engine remained when overcoming a 691 days absence to beat Ruby Light by 2 3/4 lengths at Thurles last month.
Sir Des Champs can challenge Don Poli
After being held-up well off the pace, the gelding appeared to have it all to do entering the straight but gradually cut into the lead of the eventual runner-up and eased clear on the run in to score with tons in hand.
If building on that then Sir Des Champs looks sure to give Don Poli plenty to think about.
Read our horse racing archive.