Irish Gold Cup next up for Zabana after Lexus failure

Thistlecrack a firmer Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite after Coneygree’s defection

Coneygree: the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is set to miss this year’s renewal, according to Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer, Mark Bradstock. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Coneygree: the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is set to miss this year’s renewal, according to Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer, Mark Bradstock. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

The Grade One star Zabana will attempt to re-establish his Cheltenham Gold Cup credentials at Leopardstown next month.

 Last season’s Punchestown festival winner was pushed out to a general 33-1 shot in ante-post betting for the Gold Cup in March after finishing only seventh behind Outlander in the Lexus Chase over Christmas.

 However trainer Andy Lynch has indicated Zabana will return to Leopardstown’s three miles for the Stan James Irish Gold Cup in his next outing.

“Ground permitting he’ll go to Leopardstown on the 12th,” confirmed Lynch.

 Zabana was prominent in the Lexus for much of the race until fading from the second last although Lynch has no doubts about the horse’s stamina for three miles.

“We have put him in the two races at Cheltenham, the Gold Cup and the Ryanair. But he loves three miles,” he added. “He ran a little wild with him the last day but it’s hard to say what happened.”

 The King George winner Thistlecrack saw his position as Gold Cup favourite harden even further with news that the 2015 Cheltenham hero Coneygree is set to miss the race. The news also resulted in ante-post support for Thistlecrack’s stable companion, Native River, winner of the Welsh National on his last start.

Any risk

Sara BradstockMark Bradstock

 Coneygree suffered a setback after his sole start of the season to date behind Cue Card at Haydock in November and his connections feel he won’t recover in time for Cheltenham.

“We will make sure he is fine before he comes back. Hopefully he will go to Punchestown and win the Irish equivalent,” Bradstock added.

“We might just give him a change of scenery and run him in the French Champion Hurdle which is over three miles and is usually run on soft ground.”

 Don Cossack and Djakadam, the first two from last season’s Gold Cup, are the two-shortest priced Irish trained hopes in most betting lists for this March’s festival highlight at a general 10-1.

 Don Cossack could yet return from injury in next month’s Red Mills Chase at Gowran and Eddie O’Leary of Gigginstown Stud reported: “It’s so far, so good. At the moment we’re hoping to run him in February. There’s the Red Mills but at the moment we’re just trying to get him back to the racecourse.”

 Both the Lexus winner Outlander and Valseur Lido are other potential Gold Cup starters for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown team.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.