Punchestown Festival: Irish Cavalier can make class tell
David Metcalf | April 26, 2016
Irish Cavalier can cash-in on class drop
Irish Cavalier can take advantage of a drop in class to defy top weight and land the Guinness Handicap Chase on day two of the Punchestown Festival (18:40).
The Rebecca Curtis trained gelding showed improved form throughout last season, landing a novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival in tremendous style off a mark of 137, before rounding off the campaign with a fine second of 17 to Blood Cotil in a valuable handicap at this meeting off 145.
Judged on those efforts, Irish Cavalier looked one to keep onside, and that view was confirmed when the seven-year-old made an impressive winning seasonal reappearance at Newton Abbot last off a mark of 151.
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.
Highly tried in Grade 1 contests
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 give the useful Henryville 12lb a comfortable 1/2 length beating.
Irish Cavalier was then far from disgraced when fifth of 20 to Annacotty in an ultra-competitive class 1 contest at Cheltenham off 156, and has since been highly tried.
He ran as well as could be expected when fifth to Don Cossack in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, when only losing fourth close home, before coming to grief in a Grade 1 at Aintree when last seen in action.
This is a far less demanding task and Irish Cavalier looks nicely treated on the pick of his form off a mark of 153, especially if taking into account the 5lb claim of jockey Jonathan Moore.
Rogue Trader commands plenty of respect
There are plenty of dangers in a wide-open contest, and the unexposed Rogue Trader looks a big player for trainer Tom Taffe.
The JP McManus owned gelding was a useful hurdler, winning twice and finishing an excellent second in a 25-runner handicap at this meeting 12 months ago.
Rogue Trader started off this season in some decent novice chases, finishing runner-up to the ultra-classy Douvan at Navan and fourth to Killultagh Vic at Fairyhouse.
The seven-year-old then disappointed on his handicap debut before bouncing back to score in good style over 2m at Naas when last seen in action.
A 6lb rise in the weights for that victory looks more than fair, and Rogue Trader will appreciate the step up to 3m and appears to have been laid out for the race.
We’re providing comprehensive betting coverage of the 2016 Punchestown Festival on our dedicated page.
Coral’s top tip: Irish Cavalier looks worth a wager to take advantage of a drop in class and land the spoils. Rogue Trader rates a big danger given powerful connections.