Mullins Magic To Strike Gold At Leopardstown
Hennessy Gold Cup
Any racing fan worth their salt will have both eyes glued to the screen this Sunday when Leopardstown stage one of the richest day’s racing in the Irish calendar, in which four mouth-watering Grade 1 events take place.
The highlight is the Hennessy Gold Cup at 3.50pm, where once again Willie Mullins holds a strong hand via the first two in the market, namely Boston Bob (11/4) and On His Own (7/2).
A dual Grade 1 winner last spring, Boston Bob failed to get his head in front in three outings this term, including when beaten 6l into fourth in the Lexus Chase at Christmas (3m, soft). The 10yo’s class cannot be disputed, but he has a bit to prove at present, and odds of 11/4 may flatter him.
On His Own meanwhile, was around 5l in front of Boston Bob in the Lexus having set a good gallop before being headed only late on. The fact he jumped and hung to the right may not be ideal on his return to this left-handed track, though, and it may not be a coincidence his last three wins came at right-handed tracks.
It’s also worth noting that the Mullins pair failed to win during their last three outings, which goes against the grain in recent years of this race…
Of the last 10 Hennessy Gold Cup winners…
9 won during their last three runs
9 won 36% or more of their career chase runs
9 ran during the last 31-60 days
8 ran over 3m last time
8 had 1-3 career runs at Leopardstown
8 arrived via Leopardstown
8 ran in a Grade 1 event last time
W Mullins won it four times
A dual Grade 1 winner last season, Carlingford Lough failed to show in the aforementioned Lexus at Christmas, keeping on into fifth (beaten over 8l). That was his first outing since April, however, and John Kiely’s 9yo can be expected to improve for that outing, hence why he has been punted into 4/1 for Sunday.
Next in the lists is the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Lord Windermere (6/1), who also ran in the Lexus, finishing a disappointing seventh, (beaten almost 12l). He has now flopped on his last three visits to this track, and Cheltenham next month could be more his target.
Ted Walsh’s improving 7yo, Foxrock, is also 6/1 having progressed in handicaps the last twice, culminating in landing the valuable BoyleSports Chase over 2m5f here last month (soft). A multiple winner over 3m, he is somewhat the unknown quantity in the race, as he has yet to reach the ceiling of his ability.
Of the outsiders, First Lieutenant (14/1) is hard to fancy having been beaten 11l in the Lexus, Home Farm (25/1) fell in the same race, and Texas Jack (20/1) may prefer shorter.
The majority of these ran in the Lexus last time, where On His Own emerged best, while Carlingford Lough may well reverse roles if fitter this time. However, the vote goes to Boston Bob, who may prefer better ground on Sunday and is 2-3 at Leopardstown.