Michael O’Leary’s Dedigout looks soundest Powers Gold Cup bet

Decision to miss Irish National can pay off with victory in Grade One race

Dedigout (Davy Russell) can land the Powers Gold Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Dedigout (Davy Russell) can land the Powers Gold Cup. Photograph: Inpho


The decision of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team to divert Dedigout from the Irish National to tomorrow’s Powers Gold Cup can pay off in a race where jumping really can be the name of the game.

Along with the newly-promoted mares novice hurdle, the traditional Easter Sunday Fairyhouse highlight provides Grade One holiday action ahead of Monday’s National. What it doesn’t provide, though, is a field of sure-footed jumpers, with some of the principals having plenty to prove in terms of negotiating the obstacles.

Mikael D’Haguenet’s frailties were again obvious on his last start at Naas where a mishap at the third last robbed him of what seemed almost certain victory, considering he rallied to such effect he ended up beaten by less than eight lengths.

Mount Benbulben’s jumping has been ropey too, although he was good last time out at Thurles when ridden by Danny Mullins for the first time.

Oscars Well has also hit the deck during his novice campaign, although the form of his January second to Benefficient doesn’t look shabby since Cheltenham, and Realt Mor couldn’t get over the first fence intact on his last start at Fairyhouse.

In comparison, Buckers Bridge and Dedigout have been solid citizens although the latter made a mistake at Christmas that shook his confidence for a time. However, he looked right back to his best at Naas earlier this month when easily beating the National hopeful You Must Know Me. Testing ground conditions will suit the Dedigout ideally and he can provide Gigginstown with the perfect pre-National boost.

Major surprise
Willie Mullins has half of the six starters in the mares feature but there’s no doubting Annie Power’s status as the champion trainer’s number one. Unbeaten in six, Annie Power already features in some ante-post lists for next year’s Champion Hurdle. It will be a major surprise if she doesn’t maintain a perfect record.

A total of 10 line up for the Grade Two novice hurdle and victory for Annie Power will boost hopes in Defy Logic, one of two Tony McCoy mounts tomorrow, who chased home the mare on their last starts.

Preference, though, is for Sizing Gold who didn’t take up his Neptune option at Cheltenham but who is highly regarded by trainer Henry De Bromhead.

The novice handicap hurdle will be intensely competitive and a grind on heavy going will suit the lightly-weighted Miss Xian who beat Acapulco on her last start, and that horse has won since at Cork.

The Tullow Tank is named after Irish rugby international Seán O’Brien and is another that can show the merit of Annie Power’s Grade Two success at Naas. He finished well behind that day but he is ultimately a chasing type and the grind of a bumper on soft ground should be much more his cup-of-tea.

Cork begins its own Easter three-day festival today with an all-flat card but it will be all-jumps tomorrow when top jockey Jason Maguire travels from Britain to team up with Roi De Mee in the Grade Three Imperial Call Chase.

Roi Du Mee burst some bubbles in the Bobbyjo Chase last month and is currently on a career-high in terms of rating. Even topweight may not stop him here.

Chiltern Hills has had plenty chances and preference in the mares maiden is for the unexposed Sitcom who lost her rider at the very first obstacle on her jumping debut in the north.

The Listed Cork Stakes is the feature and the 2011 winner Inxile can secure a third course victory for Dandy Nicholls.