Irish Gold Cup Guide

1. AL BOUM PHOTO

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Has been involved in plenty of drama in his racing career, including when crumbling down in the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival when in with every chance, a month before darting out in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown under a bewildered Paul Townend.

When avoiding trouble, he has proved how good a horse he can be. Won the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse last April, before making an easy winning return at Tramore on New Years Day.

Serious contender not just here, but for the real thing at the Cheltenham Festival.

2. ANIBALE FLY

Trainer - AJ Martin

Jockey - Barry Geraghty

Below par return run last time would of brushed away the cobwebs, and more will be expected having finished best of the Irish when coming third in the English Gold Cup last season.

Would of needed the run, but is a course and distance winner from just over twelve months ago. Fell in this contest heavily last year so time to make amends for that.

So much quality in the field and others may just have the edge on profiles.

3. BALKO DES FLOS

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

Completely out of sorts this season, which is very disappointing to see.

Well fancied by the Irish when landing big gamble in the Ryanair Chase last term - having finished a length down on Road To Respect in the Christmas Chase over the course and distance in December of 2017.

Ninth in that race this season, and a massive improvement is unlikely.

4. BELLSHILL

Trainer - WIllie Mullins

Jockey -

Fourth in last season's Irish Grand National, a route towards the English equivalent beckons after this contest, which he can use to booster his overall sharpness.

Know he stays well, so can set a strong pace from the front end and attempt to see them off one by one. Still ran a creditable fourth behind stablemate Kemboy in the Savills Chase.

Must have a chance.

5. EDWULF

Trainer - Joseph O'Brien

Jockey - Derek O' Connor

Incredible story with Edwulf which fails to leave anybody with a dry eye.

Completed the impossible when winning this contest twelve months ago at odds of 33/1, and owes his connections simply no more in effort.

Still continues to roll on, and finished down the field in the Savills Chase over Christmas, so much harder to fancy this time a year older.

6. MONALEE

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Robbie Power

Second in the Savills Chase to Kemboy surely stands him in with a great chance, having finished third to Snow Falcon in a Grade Two on his return.

Also had to settle for second fiddle in the RSA last term to Presenting Percy, but always seems to creep into contention finding one too good.

Clear each way chances, and might not be too long before we see him back in the winners enclosure.

7. NOBLE ENDEAVOR

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Keith Donoghue

Seems incredible we are over halfway through the field and we are yet to touch on a Gordon Elliott runner.

Well, here he is with this 10yo gelding who returned from a length absence in December to finish down the field in the Becher - won by Walk In The Mill.

Finishing third in the 2017 Ultima Handicap Chase boasts strong form, but appears to be in deep seas ahead of this Grade One.

8. OUTLANDER

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Jack Kennedy

A chaser that feels as though he has been around forever - in fact he made his debut seven years ago next week when racing in a Punchestown point-to-point.

Neck second in this last year, but the race looks much more hotly contested this time around.

A winner of five chase races including three Grade Ones, so cannot be overall written off.

9. ROAD TO RESPECT

Trainer - Noel Meade

Jockey - Sean Flanagan

Despite slipping twice and being really badly hampered, Road To Respect somehow still manage to place third in the Savills Chase behind Kemboy over Christmas.

Won the JNwine.com Champion Chase earlier on in the season, and looks a real contender for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece - can boost his chances of success there with a win here.

Course and distance winner too, and hard to beat if presented with a clear passage.

10. THE STORYTELLER

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Davy Russell

Picked up the pieces in that bizarre contest at Punchestown last term, and could of done without the summer break because he was really on a roll having also landed the plate at Cheltenham.

Only beat one rival home in his first two starts of the season at Down Royal and Punchestown, before a little better over Christmas.

Much more needed.

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