Friday 22 March 2019

Patrick Mullins: 'It's hard to see our quartet beating Presenting Percy if he brings his best form after audacious journey'

 

Perfect Presentation: Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy and Davy Russell celebrate after winning at Gowran Park in January. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Perfect Presentation: Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy and Davy Russell celebrate after winning at Gowran Park in January. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Patrick Mullins

The Bible tells us that when the Apocalypse comes it shall be brought forth by four horsemen. It's beginning to feel like it might come a sight sooner than the Gold Cup will to Closutton. I don't know if Willie made some kind of Faustian bargain - more Cheltenham winners than anyone else but no Gold Cup - but the fates have not smiled upon our runners in it. Today we send four of our own horsemen out to try and finally scale the greatest height there is in our sport.

Ruby Walsh has chosen Bellshill. He has underperformed here three times in the past but each time on the Old course. This is his first try on the New, a more galloping track that should suit him better. He is a beautiful horse, the type you see in paintings by old masters.

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Stamina should be no issue, based on his Irish National run, and he appears to handle all ground. He will need a career-best performance at nine years of age to win though.

Al Boum Photo and Kemboy are both young and improving horses. Both have won Grade Ones. Kemboy's performance at Christmas was exceptional but this race will be run at a much faster pace and on slower ground so his stamina is an unknown.

Owned by Supreme Racing Club, he shows that is possible for anyone to have share in a Gold Cup contender. If he wins, we might well see the first pitch invasion at Cheltenham!

I ride Invitation Only. He annexed the Thyestes Chase on his last run, a race which three of our previous Gold Cup runners-up have won. I'm not sure the form of beating Alpha Des Obeaux is good enough here but it would be no surprise if he were to place. Al Boum Photo put in a huge run to win in Tramore; however, Presenting Percy had him well beat in the RSA last year when he fell.

I struggle to see ours beating an on-form Presenting Percy. This horse handles the track, the occasion and showed himself in good form when winning in Gowran. Yes, he has come the Easter Hero route, not tried successfully since 1929, in not having ran over fences this season but this Swiss Army Knife of a horse is endlessly versatile and has won a handicap chase and over fences at the Festival so he is well equipped for the test. Only Pat Kelly could have the audacity for such a preparation. His bold and unconventional training methods have brought much colour and intrigue to the past seasons and I hope if it isn't one of the Closutton gang passing the post in front, that it is this mischievously ingenious man's horse. What an incredible story it would be.

Sir Erec is a short price to carry his crown jewels to victory today but I think Tiger Tap Tap is underrated. He was only a neck behind the Erec at Christmas before disappointing in February. However, that race was slowly-run, on the inside track at Leopardstown, which suited the classy Flat horses. Today's race on softer ground, around a more galloping track and with a stronger pace will favour our horse, with his stout German pedigree, far more.

Allaho is a Tyson Fury type - he almost looks too big for himself. He has great use of himself nevertheless. With only two runs over hurdles, lack of experience is a concern in this marathon for novices but coming as he did from France, where they jump as often as they sleep and eat, may negate that concern. Whatever he does today, next year will be hugely exciting with him, looking at his physique.

Patrick's Picks

Tiger Tap Tap, ew 1.30

Allaho, ew 2.50

Presenting Percy, 3.30

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