Monday 14 October 2019

Mick enjoys an Extraordinary Tour on TV with 'new' trophy

Mick with the Gold Cup
Mick with the Gold Cup

As part of ITV's build-up to The Festival Mick Fitzgerald has been taking the recently reacquired Gold Cup of 1924 to past winners, would-be winners, and others associated with the race.

The trophy had been in the bank vault of its previous owner since the 1970s but it is now mounted on a plinth bearing the name of every horse to have won the contest.

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A beautiful, decorative cup dating back almost 100 years, it will be the first change to the perpetual trophy since 1972.

The Extraordinary Tour has taken Fitzgerald to Carmarthen, from where dairy farmer Sirrell Griffiths sent out 100/1 winner Norton's Coin in 1990, to the Hollow Bottom pub where Nigel Twiston-Davies celebrated Imperial Commander's 2011 win, and to Carlow, where Willie Mullins has prepared literally dozens of potential contenders and yet endured nothing but frustration in the race his father Paddy won with Dawn Run in 1986.

He has also taken the trophy to the Clonmel brewery of Magners, the Gold Cup's new sponsor.

"We've been all over with the Cup, which Cheltenham has reinvented as the new perpetual trophy, and it's been quite special to be involved," says Fitzgerald.

"Imagine sitting down with Willie, Tom and Tony Mullins, as well as Paddy's widow Maureen, with all of the stories they had about the Gold Cup. That was fun, but it can't be easy for Willie, who was second with Hedgehunter and then three years running with On His Own and Djakadam.

"Willie's had no luck but on the other side of the coin you have someone like Sirrell, who had just three horses but dreamed he won the Gold Cup and went and did it with a horse hardly anybody gave a chance to, beating the likes of Fulke Walwyn and David Elsworth for the most coveted prize in steeplechasing.

"I had a lovely time everywhere I went with the Cup. It was great fun."

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