Past Winners » Gilgamboa


This is a cracking race. Gitane Du Berlais is the correct favourite, she was very good at Sandown in the Scilly Isles Chase, she won at Auteuil since and trainer Willie Mullins has had this race in mind for her for a while. As well as that, she receives the age and sex allowance, so she gets a total of 15lb from the older geldings. However, she is short today against genuinely top class novices.

There should be very little between Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido again today, all their form says that they are very closely matched, but they are high-profile now after their runs in the JLT Chase behind Vautour, and they are both short enough in my book at 9/2 after hard races at Cheltenham just over three weeks ago.

I think that Gilgamboa is a fair bit over-priced at 8/1 or 15/2. He was one of the top novice hurdlers last season, he won the BoyleSports Hurdle and he was quietly fancied for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and he looked like he was going to develop into one of our top novice chasers this season when he won his beginners’ chase at Navan in November.

He followed up by winning over two and a half miles at Limerick’s Christmas Festival, beating Perfect Gentleman – who ran such a big race in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham – by more than 20 lengths.

Sent off at no bigger than 11/4 against Vautour and Clarcam – to whom he was conceding 10lb – in the Irish Arkle after that, he just couldn’t get to grips with Vautour there, and he finished a tired horse.

It was disappointing that he couldn’t beat Rawnaq at Navan on his only subsequent run, but he was probably feeling the effects of a hard race against Vautour then, and, as it turned out, that wasn’t such a bad run. Rawnaq could well have won the Festival Plate at Cheltenham when we had him on side had he jumped the final fence a little better.

Enda Bolger said after that that he had no business going to Cheltenham. So Gilgamboa has been freshened up, and it is interesting that he is coming here. He has had a nice break of 49 days, and he will be taking on horses who have had hard races at Cheltenham. As well as that, he will have AP McCoy for assistance.

He is a top class novice, you wouldn’t have said at the start of the season that he was well below Apache Stronghold or Valseur Lido, he belongs in the same competition as the top novices, and he is over-priced against them. Two and a half miles is probably his optimum trip, he will love the soft ground, and his record going right-handed reads 1311.