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2019 Unibet Irish Gold Cup tips – 5/2 shot to scoop big prize on road to Cheltenham

Jonathan Vine in Tips 1 Feb 2019
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the Dublin Racing Festival and provides readers with his tips at Leopardstown on Sunday 3rd February.

Punters on both sides of the Irish Sea are now looking forward to the Dublin Racing Festival with a great sense of excitement and the early entries for the main event of the meeting, the Unibet Irish Gold Cup were released this afternoon. Many of Ireland’s finest staying chasers have claimed glory in this three miler, with Jodami, Florida Pearl, Beef Or Salmon and Carlingford Lough entering the winners' enclosure on multiple occasions.

Edwulf (40/1 Unibet) completed his Lazarus-esque recovery here at Leopardstown 12 months ago, outjumping Outlander (25/1 Unibet) at the last before holding on for a historic victory. Joseph O’Brien’s first Gold Cup winner hasn’t been in the best of form since and his lengthy odds suggest it will be a tall order for Edwulf to even compete on his return to Leopardstown.

Even before Savills Chase winner, Kemboy was removed from the running, Al Boum Photo (7/2 Unibet) was the highest placed of Willie Mullins runners, having triumphed over Total Recall (14/1 Unibet) in a Listed Chase on New Years Day. Mullins’ enigmatic chaser will have to step up significantly on that Tramore performance if he wants to challenge for the victory here and Al Boum Photo is yet to win on any of his three starts over three miles.

It was always going to be tough for Bellshill (4/1 Unibet) to win the Savills Chase - despite an excellent reappearance record – and Willie Mullins will have been pleased to see his charge stay on into fourth on his first start of the new season. Last season’s Punchestown Gold Cup winner should come on from that run, but he always looks much more at home on a right-handed track and he will want the ground to be much more testing than the weather forecasts suggest it will be.

Monalee (8/1 Unibet) ran a typically solid race in the Savills Chase, holding off plenty of proven stayers to claim second behind Kemboy. It was a performance, however, that may have finally convinced Henry de Bromhead that his chaser is better over two-and-a-half-miles and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him pulled from the running to prepare for a tilt at the Ryanair at Cheltenham. 

Noel Fehily riding Monalee (right) to victory over Invitation Only (left) and Al Boum Photo (centre, yellow) in the Flogas last year.

After falling at the third-last in this race last year, Anibale Fly (11/1 Unibet) went on to enjoy a successful spring campaign, placing in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National three weeks later. For the second season in a row, AJ Martin started Anibale Fly off over two miles to open up his lungs and the nine-year-old certainly offers some each-way value at his current price.

Balko Des Flos (20/1 Unibet) has struggled for form since winning the Ryanair at Cheltenham, but Henry De Bromhead remains confident that three miles is his best trip and the reigning Ryanair winner is capable of a big performance on any given day. The Storyteller (20/1 Unibet) has also been woefully short of form this term and Gordon Elliott's Growise winner looks set for a drop back into handicap company after a run here - just in time for Festival season.

It’s no surprise to see Kemboy prominently in the betting after that seven-length triumph at Christmas. I, however, still have my doubts as to whether he genuinely is a top-class stayer and Willie Mullins charge won’t be allowed to dictate the race this time around. Gigginstown will be out for revenge and they will try to put the dangerous front-runner off his game, leaving the door open for ROAD TO RESPECT (5/2 Unibet) - who, for me, remains the best staying-chaser in Ireland today - to pick up the pieces and win the Unibet Irish Gold Cup.

After cruising to victory in the JNWine Champion Chase on his reappearance, much was expected of Noel Meade’s stable star in the Savills Chase. Sean Flanagan looked cool and composed under his lucky yellow cap near the rear of the field, but a series of unfortunate events followed, with Road To Respect slipping up twice as the field turned for home.

The two-time Grade One winner had to draw upon all his class and quality to snatch third after that double-slice of bad luck. Noel Meade has reported that Road To Respect has come out of the race perfectly and is ready and raring to go. People forget that Road To Respect is still just eight - the same age as current Gold Cup favourite, Presenting Percy - and his performances so far this term suggests there's still improvement to come over the coming seasons.

The weather forecast suggests the ground at Leopardstown will be on the good side once again - news that will sound like music to Noel Meade’s ears, as Road To Respect looks to get back on the winning trail before his second crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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2019 Unibet Irish Gold Cup tips – 5/2 shot to scoop big prize on road to Cheltenham

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the Dublin Racing Festival and provides readers with his tips at Leopardstown on Sunday 3rd February.

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