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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Expect to see a completely different Bellshill as Gold Cup the feature at Leopardstown

The Willie Mullins-trained horse goes in the main race at Leopardstown today.

Ruby Walsh will be on board Bellshill today.
Ruby Walsh will be on board Bellshill today.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

PRESENTING PERCY DESERVES to be favourite for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup but he is very short for what he has done and the value option right now is surely Bellshill, who could be a lot shorter than 25-1 after the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown this afternoon (3.35pm).

There are not many staying chasers who could do what Bellshill did in last year’s Irish Grand National off a mark of 158. Until clambering over the last he had run the field ragged. He then dusted himself down and recovered in time to defeat Djakadam and Road To Respect in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

He made his first start of last season on 24 February. Imagine what he could do when his season is not impeded by setbacks?

It seems everything has gone swimmingly for Bellshill at home this season, apart from the rain not coming of course, but he shaped with real promise in the Savills Chase, when he travelled every bit as well as the winner, Kemboy, coming down to the last.

It looked as though he blew up on the run-in and that should bring him on leaps and bounds. Expect to see a completely different Bellshill here.

The doubters will point to his poor Leopardstown record and his preference for going right-handed, but he has a Grade 1 win over hurdles at Naas to his name and a Grade 2 at Navan – each left-handed tracks.

The official ratings say Bellshill has only 1lb to find with Road To Respect and he is 3lb superior to Al Boum Photo. Ruby Walsh obviously thinks so too and has stayed loyal.

The going is a slight concern but he has won two Grade 1s on good to yielding ground.

Everybody seems to think Road To Respect was the one to take out of the Savills Chase but, to these eyes, the eyecatcher was Bellshill and he can show his true worth today.

The market suggests the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (1.15pm) will be a carbon copy of the maiden hurdle run at the venue on 27 December with Sir Erec and Tiger Tap Tap fighting it out for favouritism but surely the forgotten horse is Coeur Sublime, who is getting better with every run.

Brian Cooper on board Coeur Sublime Is Coeur Sublime the forgotten horse today for the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle. Source: Matt Mackey/INPHO

His crashing fall at the last over Christmas is an obvious concern but surely Gordon Elliott would not be running him if he had not fully recovered and I thought he would have won that Grade 2 by about two lengths had he stood up.

It may be that he will reserve his best display of the season for the Triumph Hurdle, a race he should relish, but there is no shortage of pace in this and he will be the one seeing it out best on the long run-in.

Cases can be made for so many in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle (12.40pm) but Cut The Mustardwasn’t disgraced in one of the hottest handicap hurdles run in Ireland at Fairyhouse in December and the application of a hood could bring about enough improvement to score off a mark of 128.

Oscar Knight was second in the William Fry Handicap Hurdle (2.25pm) last year and he looks really interesting off 5lb higher as he attempts to go one better.

Remember it was Total Recall who won last year’s race, off 125 (now rated 156 over fences), and surely there won’t be anything so well handicapped this time. The 144-day absence is a concern but he has won off a 215-day break in the past.

JP McManus could also be in the winner’s enclosure after the Abbey International Leopardstown Handicap Chase (4.10pm) as Landofhopeandglory could finally bridge a losing run which stretches back to September 2017 off an attractive mark of 130.

There was more sign of life in the Tim Duggan at Limerick last time when he made two mistakes and was hampered at the second-last and the fact he was still on the bridle turning in suggests the engine is still there.

Sunday’s Tips

Cut The Mustard
12.40 Leopardstown

Coeur Sublime
1.15 Leopardstown

Oscar Knight
2.25 Leopardstown
1pt win

3.35 Leopardstown

4.10 Leopardstown

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