Timeform provide a runner-by-runner guide to the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup...
Quel Esprit has been successful on all 4 completed starts over fences and was rounding-off the hat-trick when taking the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown last time...
Apt Approach has taken his form up a notch this season, winning 3 times up to 3m, including Grade 2 at Thurles. Failed to fire over Grand National fences last time but out of depth here in any case.
China Rock is a very smart chaser, but again failed to stay in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on penultimate start, and is turned out quickly after a below-par fourth to Sizing Europe here on Wednesday.
Follow the Plan won corresponding race last term (left clear at last) and notched third Grade 1 success at Aintree last time tried in cheekpieces. A reproduction of that would see him there or thereabouts.
Magnanimity was not far off the best novice chasers in 2010/11, fourth in RSA at Cheltenham, but has proved more miss than hit this time around and didn't impress with his finishing effort penultimate start.
Quantitativeeasing has compiled good record in valuable handicaps this term, showing very smart form when scoring at Cheltenham in December. Bit disappointing last time but this looks a weak Grade 1 so place claims.
Quel Esprit has been successful on all 4 completed starts over fences and was rounding-off the hat-trick when taking the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown last time, making most and jumping well. Leading player.
Roberto Goldback put up a solid effort in blinkers when chasing home Quel Esprit in Irish Hennessy in February, but well beaten both starts since and very hard to see him playing a prominent role here.
Rubi Light looked as good as ever when making all in John Durkan at Punchestown and Red Mills Chase at Gowran this term, form that gives him solid claims. Didn't convince with stamina for 3m in Lexus, though.
1. Quel Esprit
3. Rubi Light
Timeform Verdict: By no means a vintage renewal of this Grade 1 contest and preference is for Quel Esprit, who boasts the most progressive profile and already sets the standard. Quantativeeasing could prove to be the biggest threat, whilst Rubi Light looks sure to go well for a long way.