Sizing John made history in the Punchestown Gold Cup (17:30) last season, and though this year’s renewal isn’t bursting with the same level of excitement, it leaves the door open for a horse to stamp their impression on the stayers’ division.
Killultagh Vic will have to brush up his jumping before he can do any stamping, having been let down by that aspect of his game before, but he has the form to figure if he can make it over the fences.
However, it’s Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth Road To Respect who sets the standard in this race. He’s now short enough in the betting, though, and the value may lie with Djakadam. He is a bit like James Milner (been around forever without winning much), but it’s worth remembering he is still only a nine-year-old, and he has a great record round here.
A repeat of his second in this race last year would see him right in the mix.
The Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle (16:55) is the Next Destination for Willie Mullins’ charge and he possesses all the right attributes to become the headline act, having shaped well when third to superstar Samcro at Cheltenham last month.
The way he went through that race strongly suggested he is ready for this step up to three miles, doing all his best work at the finish, and he can see off Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm. Colin Tizzard’s runner is expected to make a bold bid, though the heavy-ground winner may have to play second fiddle unless the weather matches his name.
Sunderland fans would have been hoping to battle for promotion this season but, with two games remaining, they have already been relegated. The Mackems may be able to make themselves feel a bit better by backing the Champion Bumper winner Relegate in the 18:05 to make it four wins in a row – only two less than the Black Cats have managed all season.
Relegate proved very strong in the finish last time, and looks a cracking prospect for hurdling next season, but is fancied to bow out for the season in style here.
It’s believed that St. Patrick baptised the first Irish Christians on the grounds of what is now St Patrick’s Park in Dublin, and the horse of a similar name is worth backing in the Guinness Handicap Chase at 18:40.
The race is as open as my fridge between getting home from work and dinner time, but Patricks Park wasn’t unduly punished last time, and remains well treated at present. Shanahan’s Turn, who finished runner-up in the Topham Chase at Aintree last time, could be a danger. He won the Galway Plate in 2015 from a six pounds higher mark and seems sure to be in the mix.