Monday 16 July 2018

WATCH: Joseph O'Brien's Edwulf - who nearly died at Cheltenham last year - wins the Irish Gold Cup at 33/1

Jockey Derek O'Connor with trainer Joseph O'Brien the parade ring after winning the Unibet Irish Gold Cup on Edwulf during Day 2 of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse in Leopardstown, Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Jockey Derek O'Connor with trainer Joseph O'Brien the parade ring after winning the Unibet Irish Gold Cup on Edwulf during Day 2 of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse in Leopardstown, Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Big outsider Edwulf won a dramatic renewal of the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown for Joseph O'Brien.

In what was a tremendous training performance - Edwulf nearly died at last season's Cheltenham Festival - O'Brien has somehow managed to coax him back to his best.

There were plenty of thrills and spills during the race, with Killultagh Vic jumping the last in front only to sprawl on landing.

Anibale Fly also took a crashing fall, while Our Vic seemed to be back-peddling when he made a mistake second-last. Valseur Lido never threatened, either.

Djakadam was prominent throughout but gave best on the run to the last where Outlander took over.

The Leopardstown specialist Outlander looked sure to add another Grade One but amateur jockey Derek O'Connor had other ideas as 33-1 chance Edwulf got on top close home and won by a neck.

Djakadam ended up finishing third, another 10 lengths away.

O'Brien said: "He's always been a great horse.

"It's a credit to everyone involved - the staff at home, the vets at Cheltenham last year and JP (McManus, owner) and Frank Berry (racing manager) who gave him all the time in the world.

"It's been a long road to get him back from where he was at Cheltenham when we thought he was gone.

"Derek is an unbelievable horseman. Horses just jump unbelievably well for him and he gets on great with this fella. We're over the moon.

"We'll see how he comes out of this first and we'll think about Cheltenham then.

"It's not too often you get a horse good enough to run in the Gold Cup so if he's well, I'd imagine he might go there."

O'Connor said: "I'm exceptionally happy for the horse.

"I never had a horse to do what he did. He ran himself into the ground for me at Cheltenham and we thought his career was over but he's after coning back to his best."

Gordon Elliott is keen to run Outlander in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The County Meath handler said: "He ran his heart out and seems to like it here.

"We have to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Where else would you go?"

Robbie Power said of Our Duke, who finished fourth: "I'm absolutely delighted with him.

"Down Royal was a non-event for him and realistically this was his first run of the season.

"He was very ring-rusty and he'll improve an awful lot from it."

Paul Townend, rider of Killultagh Vic, was stood down for the rest of the afternoon but all horses returned unscathed.

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