The Racing Post will publish Willie Mulllins’ thoughts on his festival team tomorrow. The Kremlin’s top inquisitors would baulk at getting anything out of Mr Mullins but on the off chance that he offers a positive word for Gold Cup entry Quel Esprit, I’m advising a bet at the 16s currently available NRNB.
Quel Esprit does not have the form to win a Gold Cup. But he’s improving, is unbeaten in the 4 completions (of 7 ‘chases), was leading, travelling strongly in last year’s RSA when coming down three out and might well have won had he stood up. It was a weak Grade 1 he picked up last time but his jumping was very slick bar a slight error at the 7th. He races quite keenly and I think he benefited considerably from being allowed to stride on early last time. Hopefully P Townend will adopt the same tactics next Friday – the grey is a most efficient fencer, very quick from one side to the other.
Stamina is a question but I’m happy, at the price, to risk that he will set up a lead and hold onto it travelling well on the likely good ground.
Long Run’s dodgy jumping, Kauto’s confidence, age and interrupted prep might leave this Gold Cup vulnerable to an improver. Weird Al was the value a few months back (tipped here at 20s) but I believe Quel Esprit is the best value bet now.