Horse Racing Tips

Gold Cup Novice Chase: Timeform's expert verdict

There is Grade 1 action at Fairyhouse on Sunday

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide and 1-2-3 verdict for the Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Gold Cup Novice Chase
16:55 Fairyhouse, Sunday
Live on RTV

1. Blood Destiny (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)

Smart hurdler who resumed his progress over fences with victory in the Flyingbolt at Navan (2m, heavy) 29 days ago, proving six and a half lengths too strong for Spillane's Tower. Jumps really well and is open to further improvement as a chaser, so he looks a leading contender for the all-conquering Mullins yard.

2. Flanking Maneuver (Noel Meade/Sam Ewing)

Opened his account over fences in 21.5f maiden at this course in October, but finished well adrift of Blood Destiny and Spillane's Tower in the Flyingbolt at Navan (16f, heavy, 16/1) on penultimate start. He was a first-fence faller at Naas last time and more needed at this level.

3. Saint Felicien (Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy)

Smart hurdler who has quickly reached a similar level over fences this season, getting off the mark at the fourth attempt in a Gowran maiden (2½m, heavy) last month. Didn't get the chance to show what he can do at the Cheltenham Festival since and further progress possible.

4. Spillane's Tower (James Joseph Mangan/Mark Walsh)

Notched a second success in this sphere when outpointing Blood Destiny in a Punchestown Grade 3 in January. Beaten six and a half lengths by that rival in the Flyingbolt at Navan (2m, heavy) since but meets that rival on 7 lb better terms here and, moreover, this step back up in trip looks a good move. Big chance.

5. Tactical Move (Willie Mullins/Danny Mullins)

Hasn't done much wrong since switched to fences, chasing home stablemate Nick Rockett on chase debut here in January and has hit the target at Gowran and Naas since. Should make his presence felt, but may just be playing for minor honours.

6. Thecompanysergeant (Denis Hogan/Donagh Meyler)

Useful hurdler who was in the process of matching that level of form when departing at the last at Leopardstown (17f, heavy) on debut over fences earlier this month. Confirmed that promise when second in a Thurles Grade 3 recently but this is much tougher.

7. Zanahiyr (Gordon Elliott/Keith Donoghue)

Very smart winning hurdler who got off the mark over fences in 2m maiden at Thurles last month, despite making some mistakes. By no means disgraced when fourth of 11 in the Turners Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival since and he merits respect.

Timeform's Analyst Verdict:

The head-to-head between Spillane's Tower and Blood Destiny stands at 1-1 and they could be the pair to concentrate on. The latter represents the all-conquering Willie Mullins yard (responsible for the last five winners of this Grade 1 contest) and he is not passed over at all lightly. However, Spillane's Tower appeared to find 2m too sharp in the Flyingbolt and he has a good chance of turning the tables on the winner here. Saint Felicien remains open to improvement and he is third choice.

Timeform's 1-2-3:

1. Spillane's Tower
2. Blood Destiny
3. Saint Felicien

Back Spillane's Tower @ 2.77/4 on Betfair Exchange

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