After having Sizing John backed at big prices for the Ryanair it seems unlikely he will be taking up that engagement. Yesterday he stepped up in trip and won the Irish Gold Cup convincingly and connections rightly so will head for the big one with him at the Festival.
The Ryanair is a muddling race of who’s going to turn up with the horses avoiding Douvan over 2miles, to the ones not so good enough for the Gold Cup who will drop back in trip.
Zabana is the one I want to keep onside as this is the race and trip I feel will be perfect for him, he was due to run in the Irish Gold Cup but was withdrawn and connections may head straight to the festival now with the Ryanair mentioned most the likely target before yesterday (May have went GC route if he had won). He was a respectable 7th in the Lexus on his last start having been taken wide throughout, however the time before this he had beaten Champagne West convincingly (although receiving 5lbs) and Champagne West has since improved winning his last two (most impressive in the Thyestes last time out) which isn’t looking bad at all.
Another plus for Zabana is that he does act at Cheltenham having come 2nd in the Coral Cup two years ago and was unfortunate at the start of the JLT last year unseating as the tapes went up, so that was a non event and I will be hoping he gets some redemption in the Ryanair.
On better ground hopefully given a positive ride in the Ryanair, which should be expected from the Cheltenham expert Davy Russell, and I can see him going close with him having a perfect blend of speed and stamina.
• Un De Sceaux – Fav for this race who has done everything asked of him this season over 2m, one of the shorter favs I’d like to take on especially if the ground is fast.
• Uxizandre – Ran well after almost 2 years off the track behind UDS in the Clarence House last time out, possible bounce factor a worry if he doesn’t have another run beforehand.
• Josses Hill – Placed in a Supreme & Arkle but may prefer a right handed flatter track, jumping has improved this season being ridden more prominently. Can be hard to catch right.
• Empire of Dirt – Unsure over target with Ryanair a possible as stated by his trainer after a fast finishing 2nd behind Sizing John yesterday.
• Sizing John – Highly likely Gold Cup.
• Fox Norton – Won’t touch Douvan in the QMCC so should head here, up in trip may bring out improvement having only ever ran around 2miles.
• Black Hercules – I do rate but has ran flat over 2miles and 2 and half this season, may be a live outsider and run his race on the day.
• Sub Lieutenant – Gigginstown’s main hope for their own race and has been a reformed horse under Henry De Bromhead this season winning 2 out of his 4 chases, beat Outlander over 2m4f in November but then closely matched in the John Durkin (Outlander then won the Lexus over further) and was a 2L behind Sizing John in the Kinloch Brae last time out. Not bad form.
Bet: Back Zabana 1pt e/w NRNB
Firms: 12/1 Bet365 & Skybet or 16/1 William Hill (Money back as a free bet if he contests a different race)
Aiden – @AntepostRacing