While the awards and plaudits have been handed out at Sandown Park’s jump season finale on Saturday, the action quickly whizzes on over the obstacles on the other side of the Irish Sea at Punchestown.
Today is the opening day of their festival and it has been hard to pinpoint a decent bet, however that is not the case tomorrow. In the showpiece – the Punchestown Gold Cup at 5.30, Dessie Hughes’ Lyreen Legend is well worth a bet.
It seems Lyreen Legend has been around forever, but he is only a seven-year-old and will be approaching his peak years. In his novice season last year, he came clear with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase. Albeit thanks to the last fence fall of Boston Bob, who rates as the main danger on the back of his Aintree win, (though as 3/1 favourite he is too short.)
Lyreen Legend has progressed with each run as a second season chaser, just as he did in his novice campaign. Two prep runs at Leopardstown paved the way for a cracker of a run in Lord Windermere’s Gold Cup, where he looked sure to play a hand at the foot of the hill. A blunder two out halted his momentum and perhaps 3m2½f at Cheltenham just stretches his stamina at the moment.
The Punchestown Gold Cup trip of 3m on spring ground will be just about perfect for him, and at 7/1 with Bet365 he is a cracking each-way bet as they are the only firm paying ¼ the odds for a place.
As mentioned, Boston Bob is the obvious danger, being the choice of Ruby Walsh. But there is nothing else in the field with even remotely as progressive a profile as Lyreen Legend, and tomorrow might just be the day he announces himself on the big stage.
Punchestown Gold Cup
Lyreen Legend (each-way) – 7/1 (bet365)