Don the one to be on in Jnwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal
David Metcalf | 4 November 2016
Don Poli can deliver Champion performance on debut for Elliott
Don Poli has an excellent record fresh and looks decent value to land a cracking renewal of the Grade 1 Jnwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday (14.35).
The gelding won eight of his 15 starts when trained by Willie Mullins and also finished in the frame on five occasions.
Among those victories were a six length romp in the 2014 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a battling 1/2 length success over First Lieutenant in last year’s Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Don Poli also ran well to finish third to Don Cossack in a stellar renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and was far from disgraced in his first two starts of the campaign, when runner-up to Cue Card in a Grade 1 at Aintree and third to Carlingford Lough in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Trainer has good record in race
The form of those races is of the highest order and the Gigginstown House Stud owned seven-year-old now makes his debut for new handler Gordon Elliott, who has a good record in the race.
Elliott has won two of the last three runnings, saddling Roi Du Mee to victory in 2013 and Don Cossack to land the spoils 12 months ago.
He looks the type that will get even more out of Don Poli and, although the selection has not run for 192 days, he has won his last three starts after a break so fitness is unlikely to be an issue.
Don Poli is also versatile as regards ground and this looks the ideal launch pad for what could be an exciting campaign.
Silviniaco Conti feared most
Silviniaco Conti has been a tremendous servant over the years and looks a major player for in-form trainer Paul Nicholls.
The 10-year-old has won 11 of his 23 starts over fences and they include back-to-back successes in the King George at Kempton in 2013/14.
Silviniaco Conti is undoubtedly a class act on his day, but the fact that he only managed to get his head in front just once in five starts last season suggests he may not quite be the force of old.
However, he is still officially the highest rated in the line-up off 169, and that is 8lb higher than Don Poli.
It suggests that Silviniaco Conti is the one to beat, but he is not getting any younger and his overall record after a break in recent seasons has not been encouraging. For those reasons I am not keen to take him on.
Coral’s top tip: Don Poli has some top class form in the book and looks worth a wager to get the better of Silviniaco Conti in a fascinating rewneal of the Jnwine.com Champion Chase.