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Quel Esprit: An improving horse

Quel Esprit: An improving horse

Quel Esprit: An improving horse

View from the O'Neill, Mullins and Morris camps ahead of Friday's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

"I'd have liked to have got another run into him in the Irish Hennessy but he's been coming along really well," said O'Neill.

"He'd like rain, but you can't say he's got anything better than a sporting chance."

Ireland's champion trainer Willie Mullins has never won a Gold Cup, and this time relies upon Quel Esprit, a good winner of the Irish Hennessy on his last start.

"He's earned himself a tilt at the Gold Cup and we're just hoping," said Mullins.

"We've always thought a fair bit of him and were disappointed last year with two falls and a brought down, but I think he is improving and it looks that way this year.

"If my lad keeps improving it would be great to get in the place money and you never know what happens on the day.

"We wouldn't be worried about stamina and I don't think we are worried about jumping.

"He'll be up there from the beginning and we'll hope for the best."

Mouse Morris, victorious in the 2006 Gold Cup with War Of Attrition, saddles China Rock, who was in the process of running a big race 12 months ago before he got injured.

"He's ready to run and there's some good place money to pick up," said Morris.

"I was a little bit disappointed with his run in the Hennessy in Leopardstown as he looked like the winner two out, but he's a different horse on this better ground.

"At the time I thought he must have just blown up, but he actually scoped badly afterwards with a low-grade lung infection and still wasn't beaten that far on the day.

"If he can finish fourth, fifth or sixth on Friday, I'll be happy."

Sporting Life