SATURDAY of the Paddy Power meeting is always a massive day with the Paddy Power Gold Cup the highlight.
I only managed to win it once, but that was on Cyfor Malta in 2002, four years after he’d won it for the first time under AP McCoy.
Only five horses have won it twice and he is one of them.
He was a classy horse and even though I’m not sure there’s anything as classy today, Coole Cody is a legend of a horse.
He won this race two years ago and was then in with a big chance when falling two out 12 months ago.
After that he won at the December meeting and then the Plate at the Festival, so he clearly loves the place.
Obviously he’s getting on a bit but he’s the gift that keeps on giving. Write him off at your peril.
As is often the case, this is very competitive. French Dynamite was impressive at Thurles on his reappearance over hurdles.
He also beat Ciel De Niege at the same track over fences in March and he has the right profile for the race.
But I was really impressed with IL RIDOTO (2:20) when he won at Newbury last November.
Although he was a bit keen, he jumped really well and it was just too short a gap when he then went to the Henry VIII at Sandown a week later.
Things didn’t really work out for him after that, but this is his first run after a wind op and I still think there’s lots of improvement in him.
Paul Nicholls has been scooping up loads of the big races recently and this could be another.
The action kicks off with the Triumph Hurdle Trial (12:35) which is an interesting race.
The one I would be drawn to is BLUEKING D’OROUX, another for Nicholls.
He is a half brother to Path D’Oroux who won a bumper at the Punchestown Festival and then won at Galway over hurdles last month.
Blueking D’Oroux has run over hurdles a couple of times in France, but this is his first start since April so he’s sure to improve. He looks the one.
In the amateur jockeys’ chase (1:10), I would take on Valsheda with Gordon Elliott’s PUNITIVE.
He was a good second at Galway a couple of weeks ago and, even though he’s yet to win over fences, he was three from six over hurdles.
The step up in trip should suit, Rob James is a good jockey and he comes here fit after his reappearance.
The Arkle Trial (1:45) is really interesting. Banbridge is coming back in trip, but he jumped brilliantly at Gowran on his first start over fences.
He’s a horse I like a lot, but you’d have to say the two-mile trip is a slight worry.
Monmiral has been a bit disappointing, he’s promised more than he’s delivered, but you can’t say the same about TOMMY’S OSCAR.
He won the Grade 2 New One Hurdle last January and while he was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle, he did well to beat Geronimo at Carlisle on his debut over fences conceding chunks of weight.
With his experience and a run under his belt, I’ll go with him.
It could be that man Nicholls again in the three-mile handicap hurdle (2:55) with SHEARER.
He was very good the last day beating Twig with the third 27 lengths behind.
Twig came out and won by 14 lengths in Kempton last time – you don’t get much better form than that!
I’ll side with Tony Martin’s UNANSWERED in the intermediate handicap hurdle (3:30).
He won a handicap hurdle in Punchestown in May and has been running well on the Flat during the summer.
He had the perfect prep for this in the Curragh a few weeks ago and we all know how dangerous his trainer is in these types of races.
Finally, LUCCIA is hard to look past in the Listed mares’ bumper (4:05) for Nicky [Henderson].
She has been excellent on both starts, particularly on Imperial Cup day at Sandown.
Nicky is so good with these bumper horses and you’d expect her to have improved over the summer.
Barry was speaking with 888sport.
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