It's no great surprise to see Willie Mullins carrying all before him at Punchestown this week, but Ireland's champion jumps trainer looks set to make a big splash in the final big race of the British campaign, the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at 15:50.
This once-great handicap chase is a shadow of its former self, but there's still £150,000 up for grabs and it's easy to make a case for Mullins' Away We Go being the clear favourite here. At the current price of 98/1on Betfair, he looks a very decent bet. I think he could go off a lot shorter.
Like a lot of Irish handicap chasers being primed for a big target, Away We Go has spent the vast majority of this season running over hurdles, and he turned in a career-best in that sphere when winning at Fairyhouse in February. He may have been a 25-1 chance for the Irish Grand National after that but only because his trainer had the Ruby Walsh-ridden Marasonnien in the race and he appeared the clear second-string.
Away We Go certainly didn't run like one, though, as he travelled very sweetly throughout the contest and came to win the race two out, only to be outstayed on the heavy ground.
Mullins is on record as saying that his 10 year old doesn't really handle heavy ground, so conditions on the Esher track are going to be perfect and, as this race was an early-closing race, he gets in on a mark 7lb lower than he is now rated in Ireland.
Given the British handicapper's tendency to mark Irish horses up when they come over here, it could easily be argued that he's even more well-in that it first appears. Away We Go is a strong-traveller who could well trade short again in the run, if beaten. After all, he traded at 1.330/100 between the last two at Fairyhouse. So you may want to take out some in-running lay insurance.
Earlier on the card an outsider may be worth supporting at potentially massive odds in the 14:05 is Topolski at 14.5. Trainer David Arbuthnot endured a pretty dreadful 2012 and after a sole jumps winner in February of that year, did not have another until January this year.
With five winners from his last 21 runners, though, his spell in the doldrums seem to be well and truly over and it's not surprising that he has some well-handicapped sorts on his hands now. One of those, Starluck, took advantage of his declining mark when winning at Cheltenham last week and perhaps Topolski can do the same here.
He earned a rating of 150 after winning a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Aintree in 2011, and he still had the ability to run second in another Grade 2 at Fontwell last year. This season has been a shocker so far, but he ran well on the Flat at Kempton in February and an admittedly below-par effort on the Flat recently could have put him spot on for today. You are obviously taking a chance on his well-being, but a mark of 130 is seriously tempting and Tom Cannon, who is 2-3 for Arbuthnot this month, has got the call again.
Back Away We Go in the 15:50 at Sandown
Back Topolski in the 14:05 at Sandown