Staged at Leopardstown racecourse the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup is run over a distance of 3m 1/2f, with 17 fences to be tackled.
First run in 1987, the contest now another recognised trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup run a month later with Jodami (1993), Imperial Call (1996) and Sizing John (2017) the only horses to take both races in the same season. The 2013, Sir Des Champs, went onto finish runner-up in that season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, while the last horse win both the Irish Gold Cup and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same campaign was Sizing John in 2017.
Leading Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, is always feared as he’s sent out 11 of the last 22 winners, including two of the last three renewals, while UK raiders have taken 2 of the last 14 runnings with popular greys The Listener (2008) and 2012 Grand National hero, Neptune Collonges (2009).
However, the other main yards of Gordon Elliott (1 win) and Henry de Bromhead (no wins) are yet to really stamp their mark on this prize.
Here at TQ, we look back at recent winners and gives you all the key stats to take into the 2022 renewal – this year run on Saturday 5th February.
Recent Irish Gold Cup Winners
2021 - KEMBOY (11/4)
2020 - DELTA WORK (5/2)
2019 - BELLSHILL (2/1)
2018 - EDWULF (33/1)
2017 - SIZING JOHN (100/30)
2016 – CARLINGFORD LOUGH (20/1)
2015 – CARLINGFORD LOUGH (4/1)
2014 – LAST INSTALMENT (8/1)
2013 – SIR DES CHAMPS (11/8)
2012 – QUEL ESPRIT (5/4 fav)
2011 – KEMPES (5/1)
2010 – JONCOL (9/4 fav)
2009 – NEPTUNE COLLONGES (8/13 fav)
2008 – THE LISTENER (2/1 fav)
2007 – BEEF OR SALMON (11/4)
2006 – BEEF OR SALMON (2/5 fav)
2005 – RULE SUPREME (11/2)
2004 – FLORIDA PEARL (5/1)
2003 – BEEF OR SALMON (Evs fav)
Irish Gold Cup Betting Trends
19/19– Had run at Leopardsown over fences before
19/19 – Last ran was 6 weeks or less
17/19 – Had won over at least 3m before in their career (any code)
15/19 – Had won a Grade 1 Chase before
15/19– Aged 9 or younger
15/19 – Ran in the Savills Chase (Leopardstown) last time out
14/19 – Placed favourites
14/19 – Had won between 3-5 times over fences (rules) before
14/19 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
14/19 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s Gold Cup (1 winner, Sizing John 2017)
12/19 – Had won over fences at Leopardstown before
12/19 – Irish-bred
12/19 – Rated 160 or higher
11/19 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/19 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or more
7/19 – Trained by Willie Mullins (11 wins in total)
6/19 – Winning favourites
6/19 – Won last time out
3/19 – Won by a previous winner of the race
2/19 – Won by a UK-based trainer
The average winning SP in the last 19 runnings is 11/2
TQ VERDICT: The last two winners of this race - Delta Work (2019) and Kemboy (2020) are back for more, but of the pair the Willie Mullins-trained KEMBOY is certainly the more interesting. Now a 10 year-old so no spring chicken but should still have a season or two at this sort of level and his recent close third in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown showed he’s back to form after needing the run at Punchestown in early December. His record at Leopardstown is hard to fault 2-1-4-2-2-1-3, so another big run looks on the cards as his trainer, Willie Mullins, looks to win this race for an incredible twelfth time. If successful, Kemboy will be the first back-to-back winner since Carlingford Lough (2015-16). The other previous winner in the race - Delta Work - has rather lost his way in recent seasons and actually hasn’t won a race since landing this prize in 2020. Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero - Minella Indo - is another with a bit to answer too, having been beaten on his return this season by Frodon at Down Royal and then pulled up in the King George on Boxing Day. He was also only fourth in this race 12 months ago, while his form at the track is uninspiring Fallen, 4th. His trainer, Henry de Bromhead, is still looking for his first win in this race and although it’s hard to rule out any Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup winner - especially the most recent one, that is also the clear top-rated in this field - I feel he’s got a bit to answer to his supporters. The UK challenge will come from the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon (if making the trip) and he certainly has the ability to upset the Irish applecart. This popular 10 year-old is also no stranger to running in the Emerald Isle, having landed the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in October. Nicholls also won this race in 2009 with Neptune Collonges, while a recent fourth in a muddling King George on Boxing Day probably wasn’t as bad a run as the final placing suggested. He can certainly make a bold bid and I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off his chance. Of the rest, Mullins also has Janidil, who has the form to go well after running Allaho to 2 lengths at Punchestown in December and then backed that up with a 5th in the Savills Chase here. The worry, however, for me would be the 3m trip - as all his wins to date have been over shorter. At a price, the Gordon Elliott mare - Mount Ida (if running) - could go well too. This improving 8 year-old will get a handy 7lbs mares allowance and could improve again now stepping up to 3m. So, I feel the main danger to the pick can come from another Mullins horse - ASTERION FORLONGE. Yes, this 8 year-old does come with plenty of risks as he’s fallen (or unseated) in 50% of his last 8 runs - including his last two. But he’s also clearly got plenty of ability and was in the process of giving Allaho a race at Punchestown in December before unshipping Bryan Copper and was rallying again in the King George last time when falling at the last. The better news is that he’s never fallen here at Leopardstown from two runs (one each over hurdles and fences). He’s a horse that certainly deserves to land one of these big Irish Grade One races and even though that, of course, doesn’t mean he should win, you just feel that if his jumping holds up then this grey will be in the mix at the finish.