Don Poli can deliver Gold Cup glory for Mullins
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
Poli the Don to be on in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Don Poli can make it three wins on the bounce at the Festival by landing a cracking renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup (15.30).
The Willie Mullins trained gelding landed the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle in 2014 before running out an impressive winner of last season’s RSA Chase.
Don Poli then failed to fire at the Punchestown Festival, but has won both his starts this season in the manner of a serious staying chaser.
Aintree win a remarkable effort
In the first of those, the seven-year-old overcome adversity to get the the better of last season’s Grand National hero Many Clouds in the Lotto Chase at Aintree.
Don Poli’s girth strap went with about half a circuit to run, and Cooper performed miracles to stay in the saddle and steer him to success.
Although Don Poli only scored by four lengths, he forged clear 200 yards from the line to win with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests form a very useful rival.
Real battler and thorough stayer
It was a performance which oozed class, and Don Poli has since gone on to land a battling 1/2 a length success in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown when idling once hitting the front.
The Gigginstown House Stud owned son of Poliglote is a strong travelling sort, good jumper, and thorough stayer.
Those are the perfect attributes for this race and, with Davy Russell in the saddle, Don Poli looks to have plenty going for him.
Cossack another big contender for Gigginstown
Don Cossack is also owned by Gigginstown, and their retained rider Bryan Cooper has chosen him over Don Poli.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, Don Cossack was a revelation last season, and the manner of his victories in Aintree’s Melling Chase and the Punchestown Gold Cup elevated him to the top of the Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications with a rating of 175
This nine-year-old has looked as good as ever in winning three of his four starts this season, and held every chance in the King George at Kempton when staying on only two fall two from home.
Don Cossack then to winning ways when landing the Kinloch Brae at Thurles in workmanlike fashion, but he has not performed well in two previous runs at the Festival and that has to be a big concern.
Cue Card the big hope of the home team
Cue Card has bounced back to his brilliant best this season and looks a massive player for the home team.
After landing the Charlie Hall Chase in terrific style at Wetherby on his return to action, the Colin Tizzard trained gelding posted a breathtaking display when cruising to a seven length success in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The 10-year-old has since gone on to land the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, finishing well under Paddy Brennan to get up close home and beat Vautour by a head.
That is very strong form, and Cue Card has a good record at the track so looks sure to give it his best shot.
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Coral’s top tip: Don Poli rates a solid bet to land a stellar renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and secure a hat-trick of Festival successes.