Thursday 19 July 2018

Fireworks ahead as we go head to head with Elliott and chase that elusive Gold Cup with intriguing quartet

So close, yet so far as myself and Mall Dini (right) come off second best to Missed Approach and Noel McParlan in yesterday’s Kim Muir PA
So close, yet so far as myself and Mall Dini (right) come off second best to Missed Approach and Noel McParlan in yesterday’s Kim Muir PA

Patrick Mullins

Another incredible day for the yard and for the Irish challenge. Paul Townend stepped into Ruby Walsh's boots seamlessly and rode a double on Penhill and Laurina. We go into the last day 7-6 ahead of Gordon, so as always it will go right down to the wire. Expect fireworks.

I myself had a frustrating day. I felt Bacardys was coming with a winning run down to the last. He met it perfectly but just got too high behind, possibly a remnant of his previous chasing runs, and came down. And then Mall Dini was just held in the Kim Muir. He jumped and travelled fantastically well but, much to my frustration, the soft ground just told from the second last.

And so, we come to the final day.

We send a four-pronged attack on the Triumph Hurdle. Mr Adjudicator brings the best form to the table after his Grade One triumph in Leopardstown. He has lots of experience from the Flat and has taken fantastically well to hurdling.

Stormy Ireland is the most mysterious of the quartet. Her performance in Fairyhouse was scarcely credible it was so breath-taking, could it have been real? She is only the height of the kitchen table and not much to look at but she was the choice of Ruby on this ground before his injury. She is bucking and kicking here in the mornings and is an intriguing contender.

Saldier is a beautiful horse which has the size and scope for chasing in the future. He is unexposed and is one to follow going forward.

When he won in Naas Sayo found as much trouble as Eric Cantona did against Crystal Palace all those years ago, but still had the tenacity to kick his rivals out of the way and is the type of horse who could run into a place here.

The Gold Cup remains elusive for my father and Closutton. Dawn Run obviously won it in '86 for my grandfather Paddy and I would love to see my father emulate 'The Boss'. Six times we have whacked the crossbar and finished second.

Willie's quest to win steeplechasing's greatest prize is beginning to accumulate a saga comparable to JRR Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy. We send a fellowship of four today to finally climb that unforgiving hill in front, and hopefully there is a Frodo Baggins among them.

Killultagh Vic has won at the Festival before and claimed a Grade One victory over hurdles. His chasing career has shown explosions of brilliance hampered by a less than successful jumping technique. It is this lack of experience that could prove his Achilles heel.

Paul Townend will need to be at his brilliant best to nurse this horse around this desperately unrelenting course. If he can manoeuvre him into a winning position after the last then he will have a horse capable of capturing this evasive prize.

Total Recall is the total opposite. He has spades of jumping experience having won two red-hot handicaps but he needs to continue his Vesuvius-like improvement in form.

His narrow defeat of Whisper in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury is well over a stone off Gold Cup-winning form but he has had four months to make up that and so cannot be ruled out.

He will stay and jump and those two attributes carry you a long way in the Gold Cup.

I ride Djakadam. He has been second in this race twice before and finished fourth last year.

While The Fellow won it after similar results, he is the exception to the rule, as this race is usually won by horses attempting it for the first time.

Nevertheless, he comes here in great heart and this is his first time tackling this unique test on ground as soft as this and perhaps that can swing the pendulum of fate in his favour.

He is so tough, of the winners who won the three Gold Cups he has contested, none have returned, while he has. Perhaps he can bring the ring to Mordor.

Patrick's picks (each-way patent)

2.10 Meri Devie

4.50 Deal D'Estruval

5.30 Don't Touch It

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