Horses To Follow » Gilgamboa


Gilgamboa put up a fine performance to win the Ryanair Gold Cup, the old Powers Gold Cup, at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Settled just behind the front rank through the early stages of the race by AP McCoy, his jumping was okay in the main, but he showed a consistent tendency to want to go to his left. He received a smack form his rider after a lazy jump at the fourth last, and he wasn’t overly clever at the third last, where he got in a little tight, with the result that he was under pressure in third as they rounded the home turn, apparently not travelling as easily as the front pair Gitane Du Berlais and Smashing.

Once into the home straight, AP took him towards the near side and, as the front pair came under pressure, he managed to remain within striking distance. Two lengths behind at the second last, he began to close on the run to the last, and he jumped the final obstacle upsides and with momentum. A half-length up as they started up the run-in, he surged forward to put three lengths between himself and Gitane Du Berlais and Smashing, and he had enough in hand to get home in front of The Tullow Tank’s remarkable late lunge.

This was much more like it from Enda Bolger’s horse. Winner of the big BoyleSports Hurdle at Leopardstown last season as a novice off a mark of 128, he wasn’t a completely spent force in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season when he made a bad mistake at the second last flight.

His future always lay over fences, however, and he was seriously impressive in winning his beginners’ chase at Navan in November over two miles before he went to Limerick at Christmas and, stepped up to two and a half miles, was again impressive in winning a Grade 2 contest. He couldn’t get close to Un De Sceaux in the Irish Arkle, and there is a chance that he was still feeling the effects of his efforts there when he was beaten by Rawnaq at Navan. The run was not as disappointing as it looked at the time, however, given how well Rawnaq ran in the Festival Plate at Cheltenham. Even so, it wasn’t the real Gilgamboa.

He was freshened up nicely before Sunday’s race, he skipped Cheltenham and arrived at Fairyhouse a relatively fresh horse. He can improve again on this, however. He does appear to be at his best with at least a little cut in the ground, and two and a half miles is probably a minimum for him now. By Westerner out of a Be My Native mare, it would be surprising if he did not step up to three miles next season. The John Durkan Chase, Lexus Chase, Hennessy is a realistic plan all going well next season, and he could be a potent force in all three of those races. It may be that he will be better at a left-handed track than at a right-handed track.

5th April 2015