Sunday 19 November 2017

Gold Cup repeat to draw record crowds to Leopardstown

Barry Geraghty riding Bobs Worth during Cheltenham Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham racecourse on March 15, 2013
Barry Geraghty riding Bobs Worth during Cheltenham Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham racecourse on March 15, 2013

Racing Thomas Kelly

CLOSE to 30,000 racegoers will descend on Leopardstown this weekend, when the winners of both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle will be the headline acts.

Today, the first two in last season's Gold Cup -- Bobs Worth and Sir Des Champs -- renew rivalry in the Lexus Chase. Both horses are on retrieval missions having flopped on their seasonal debuts, while Paul Nicholls is hoping Unioniste can repeat the success of Tidal Bay in last year's renewal.

There's more top-class action tomorrow when Hurricane Fly aims to continue his winning ways in the Ryanair Hurdle. Willie Mullins' reigning Champion Hurdler faces four rivals, with the biggest challenge set to come from last season's runaway Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor.

Meanwhile, trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon plans to appeal the result of the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown after his Hidden Cyclone was denied by Benefficient.

The two fought out a tremendous finish to yesterday's Grade One feature, but after an inquiry the stewards ruled the placings should remain unaltered after Benefficient seemed to hamper Hidden Cyclone -- a decision which Hanlon disputes.

"I've no doubt if the two horses had run straight to the line our horse would have been in front," said Hanlon.

There was a fairytale result for the Mullins clan in the €106,000 Paddy Power Handicap Chase as Rockyaboya captured the spoils.

Trained by Willie, the 7/1 shot is owned by the handler's son Patrick and needed all of Ruby Walsh's urgings to hold off Cause Of Causes.

Irish Independent

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