I was asked during the week why there are only five runners declared for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, which is a fair question.
However, when you look at who has been pulled out at the declaration stage, it makes a lot of sense.
A lot of these horses would have hard races at Christmas, particularly A Plus Tard who has been taken out.
Remember two years ago, Al Boum Photo was supposed to run here but the ground was too quick, he went straight to the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and the next two years are history.
Small things like that can happen. Presenting Percy, Allaho, Balko Des Flos, Tornado Flyer (who runs in the 2-miler instead) are all probably just below the Grade 1 level required -as seen at Christmas – so you can understand why they’ve been left out.
Of course, some of them ran at a lower class in the last few weeks also.
You can only have a certain amount of top-class horses, and to be fair to this field we have five real top-notch horses.
Some will say The Storyteller isn’t quite there, but his run in the 3-mile Grade 1 hurdle behind Flooringporter was a huge run, as well as his run at Down Royal earlier in the season.
However, if there is going to be a challenger to Al Boum Photo come Cheltenham, it has to be Minella Indo.
RUBY’S TOP TIP FOR THE PADDY POWER IRISH GOLD CUP
Paul Townend takes over on Melon but MINELLA INDO looks the one to beat. Kemboy is not a straightforward ride – he has his own way of jumping, and he doesn’t like to be told what to do. You have to just let him at it.
The small field suits most of the horses here, and particularly Minella Indo coming off a fall. There will be loads of room to jump, which will also suit Delta Work who is not a great jumper. They are changing tactics with Melon and it is easier to sit at the back of five horses than 15, while Kemboy likes to make the running.
- Paddy’s non-runner no bet on all Cheltenham Festival 2021 races
- Paul Jacobs’ 4 to thrive for Paddy’s Cheltenham 2021 offer
- Cheltenham tips: Timeform’s 3 to follow for the 2021 festival