1pt win Coneygree @13/2, 1pt win Sizing John @11/10, 17:30 Punchestown, Wednesday

Wednesday’s feature race at Punchestown sees the Gold Cup winner Sizing John, 2015 hero Coneygree and Grade 1 standing dish Djakadam lock horns in a fascinating renewal.

Lexus Chase winner Outlander and Thyestes Chase winner Champagne West also take part, as well as big outsider Flemenstar.

With Djakadam so exposed now as a few pounds shy of this grade, Sizing John is the right favourite and it’s difficult to argue with his even-money quotes.

He’s been a revelation this season since being stepped up in trip, initially to two-and-a-half miles when he beat Ryanair and Melling Chase second Sub Lieutenant, then up to three miles for the Irish Gold Cup and three-miles-two for the blue ribband at Cheltenham.

He’s won all in commanding style with barely a jumping error of note, so I’m very hesitant to take him on.

Djakadam isn’t the answer, as good ground can find him out and, despite staying forever aged six behind Coneygree in that famous Gold Cup, he’s bottomed out in his two previous starts to resurface suggestions he’s not best at staying trips.

CONEYGREE arrives fresh with just the one run this season, a very good effort behind a match-fit Cue Card on bottomless ground in the Betfair Chase.

He ran out of puff that day so there’s got to be a concern he’s hard fit, especially given his yard’s limited facilities – smaller yards need to run their horses to get them 100%.

The reality is, I’d have expected Sizing John to be beaten by the top-class Cue Card on that ground, track and trip, so it’s barely a negative.

Coneygree has had a racecourse gallop and trainer Mark Bradstock had all the time in the world to get him spot-on for this, so I’m inclined to expect a big run.

After all, if Coneygree isn’t 100% then there’s no certainty a race as gruelling as the Gold Cup won’t have left its mark on Sizing John, so it goes both ways.

The fact is Coneygree is just about the best jumper in the whole sport and reports from the racecourse gallop as well as the Betfair Chase evidence suggests he’s still got it.

He’s hardly any miles on the clock having only seen the track 12 times in his ten years of age, so he’s a special case and his class shouldn’t be doubted until he comes up short.

He’s 13/2 with Paddy Power at the time of writing and that just looks too big to ignore.

Rather than bet each-way, I really don’t rate any of the others’ chances so I’m happy to cover my stake with a point on the bomb-proof jumper Sizing John at a very fair near-even-money price.

1pt win Coneygree @13/2, 17:30 Punchestown, Wednesday (Paddy Power)
1pt win Sizing John @11/10, 17:30 Punchestown, Wednesday (Various)

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